The Asia Cup final between Pakistan and Sri Lanka takes place tomorrow: Sunday September 11. And we have done thoughts on this low key momentous t20i event. Who is favourite to win the Asia Cup 2022? Judging by almost every other game in the tournament to date, it’ll probably be whichever of these teams bats second! Aside from the group stage games involving qualifiers Hong Kong, only one game in the whole tournament has been won by the team batting first. And that was a dead rubber game that took place yesterday, with India marmalising Afghanistan in Dubai.
Both teams have been impressive when chasing at the Asia Cup - Pakistan knocked-off 182 to beat India in Dubai, and Sri Lanka have repeatedly shown that they can chase decent scores – the Lions have chased 170+ against India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh in their last three games.
Here’s how to watch Pakistan vs Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final from anywhere.
When is the Asia Cup 2022 final?
The Asia Cup final between Pakistan and Sri Lanka takes place on Sunday September 11 at at 3pm BST, 7pm PKT, 7.30pm IST, AEST, 1am NZST. 10am ET, 7am PT, and 4pm CEST.
Unusually, there has been a kind of ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Asia Cup final, because Pakistan vs Sri Lanka was also the final game of the Super 4 round. It took place on Friday September 9 and Sri Lanka won quite easily. Pakistan will no doubt respond that they weren’t even trying, not bothered, mate. It definitely looked like they were trying, to me. Trying and largely failing. T20 being what it is, we shouldn’t read too much into this result though.
Asia Cup final: Pakistan and Sri Lanka team lists
Pakistan squad (likely 11 in italics): Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (w), Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Asif Ali, Khushdil Shah, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Haider Ali, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali.
Sri Lanka squad (likely 11 in italics): Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (w), Charith Asalanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, Ashen Bandara, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Matheesha Pathirana, Nuwanidu Fernando, Nuwan Thusara, Dinesh Chandimal.
Who will win the Asia Cup final?
Ignoring the influence of the toss for a moment, Pakistan enter the final as slim favourites. They’re the second-ranked T20 team in the world, and in opening pair Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, they have two of the most destructive T20i batsmen in world cricket. Rizwan is the top scoring player left in the tournament, but Pakistan’s batting hasn’t always clicked and Babar in particular is struggling for form. He’s managed just 33 runs in four innings and if his bad stretch continues, that certainly improves Sri Lanka’s odds. Cricketing form being what it is, it’s equally as likely he’ll suddenly throw off the shackles and score a rapid-fire century. Either way, Pakistan’s captain will be a key figure.
Sri Lanka come into the final in arguably even better form than the favourites, with Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa all making big contributions. On paper they perhaps don’t match up, man for man, with Pakistan, but anything can happen in T20 cricket and Sri Lanka are a talented team on the rise, despite being coached by Chris Silverwood. Yes really, that Chris Silverwood – the guy who was so hapless when in charge of England.
The pitch at Dubai International Stadium will almost certainly have an impact. As noted, it favours the chasing side, with 16 of the last 19 matches played here won by the team batting second. The good news for cricket lovers is that dire stat means the side batting first is all but obliged to come out swinging and try to score at around 10 per over. Anything above 190 is going to be a real challenge to chase. Anything less, from what we've seen so far, is all too doable.
What happened last time Pakistan played Sri Lanka?
It seems like only yesterday that Sri Lanka easily beat Pakistan in a t20i… and that’s because it was!
Sri Lanka walloped Pakistan in their Super 4 clash, chasing down a very modest target of 122 after Sri Lanka’s bowlers strangled the dangerous Pakistan top order. Babar Azam at least looked more fluent at times, playing nicely for 30 before Wanindu Hasaranga caught him coming down the track and bowled him. Hasaranga would also pick up key wickets of Iftikhar Ahmed and Asif Ali, rounding off a man of the match performance that really set up Sri Lanka for victory.
Pakistan bowled well and clearly unnerved Sri Lanka with their pace and bounce. Mohammad Hasnain and Haris Rauf rattled through Sri Lanka’s top order in the powerplay, removing Mendis and Gunathilaka for ducks, and Dhananjaya de Silva for 9. In the end, though, Pakistan just didn’t have the runs on the board, as Pathum Nissanka held the innings together from the top and anchored Sri Lanka to victory.
Still, it sets up an intriguing final. Is Babar getting back to his world-best form? Can Sri Lanka chase a proper target against this Pakistan bowling line up? And moreover, can Sri Lanka win if they have to bat first?
Are India out of the Asia Cup 2022?
Yes they are. What went wrong for India at the Asia Cup 2022? A few injuries, a bit of bad form for key players, and some bad luck with the toss. These are the small margins that can make a huge difference in elite T20 cricket.
As winners of the last two Asia Cup tournaments and the top ranked T20i team in the world, few would have predicted that India would not be in the final of the Asia Cup this year. They started the tournament well by beating Pakistan and Hong Kong in the group stage, but defeats to Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the Super 4 round effectively ended India’s chances for that third Asia Cup win in a row.
There will no doubt be an inquest into why India lost. The team clearly missed the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel, and fielded a less experienced pace bowling lineup that struggled for consistency throughout the tournament. The loss of Ravindra Jadeja to injury was also a factor as he contributes so much with bat and ball. Some key players such as Rahul, Ashwin and Pant weren't at their imperious best.
It's worth noting though that India lost to both Sri Lanka and Pakistan on the second-to-last ball, and could have won with the very slightest change of circumstances.
Regardless of their failure here, India will likely still be highly ranked for the upcoming T20 World Cup, and a tough team to beat, especially if Bumrah is available for it. It is also significant that star bat Virat Kohli has played himself back into form during the Asia Cup – his elegantly brutal 122 from 56 balls against AFG was probably the best innings of the tournament to date.