India Pips Sri Lanka to Clinch the 8th Asia Cup TitlesAshish Gupta |
What was expected to be a thrilling contest between the two Asian heavyweights, turned out to be a sterile encounter, at least from the perspective of Sri Lankan fans.
On Sunday, Sep 17th, 30,000+ Sri Lankan fans in R. Premadasa Stadium could not have prepared in any way for what was coming for them. The Asia Cup final that was supposed to last for at least 7 hours ended before one could complete an average Hollywood movie.
On an overcast day in Colombo, Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first. By the end of the match, winning the toss was the only thing that went well for the Sri Lankan team on the day of the final.
90 minutes later, they were bundled out for the lowest ever total (50 runs) registered in the final of a championship.
The previous lowest total was 54, guess against who? It was India in the Champions Trophy final in 2000 against Sri Lanka in Sharjah.
On this gloomy morning, if Sri Lankan batsmen were expecting Bumrah to be a bigger threat in the final, they were wrong and had no clue what Siraj had in store for their batsmen.
Siraj bowled the spell of his life and something that at least Sri Lankan fans will never want to remember.
The Hyderabadi stalwart took 6 wickets in his 7 overs for 21 runs, and one maiden over.
His miraculous bowling figures also included a 4-wicket over, which has only happened thrice in ODIs before this match (Chaminda Vaas for SL, Mohammad Sami for Pak & Adil Rashid for Eng).
In all honesty, there were no demons in the pitch.
It was just a good old spell of relentless tight bowling from the Indian seamers and some poor shot selection from the Sri Lankan batters, which left their fans utterly disappointed.
After all, how many times in ODI cricket do you see four slips, one leg gully and just 1 fielder on the legside? Such was the precision that Siraj was bowling with.
It only took Siraj 16 balls to complete his fiver and by that time, Sri Lanka was already floundering at 12/6 in 5.4 overs.
Bumraj picked the 1st wicket of the SL innings and whatever was left after Siraj’s turmoil, Hardik Pandya did the honours by finishing with a spell of 3 for 3 in 2.2 overs.
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma didn’t waste any chance to display complete domination, so he decided to send out Ishan Kishan to open the innings along with Shubman Gill.
30 minutes later, the match was already over and India completed a thumping 10 wicket win against Sri Lanka to win the Asia Cup title for the 8th time.
With this win, India finally ended their 5-year drought of failing to win a multi-team tournament.
The Asia Cup 2023 final turned out to be a day that Indian fans will always cherish. As far as Sri Lanka is concerned, they have a lot to ponder and prepare for the upcoming 50 over World Cup in India.