Preview: Sri Lanka, Pakistan vie for Asia Cup glory

Who: Sri Lanka v Pakistan
When: Sunday, September 11 (14:00 GMT)
Where: Dubai, UAE

Sri Lanka and Pakistan meet in the final of the Asia Cup 2022, a fixture not many had envisaged when the tournament was moved from Sri Lanka to the UAE.

There is economic turmoil in both countries. For the original hosts Sri Lanka, it was impossible to guarantee a supply of fuel and host multiple teams for the tournament amid the political and economic crisis.

Pakistan has been devastated by heavy flooding which submerged, according to official estimates, about a third of the country by melting glaciers and record monsoon rains and killed more than 1,440 people, inflicting an estimated economic loss of $10bn.

But putting those issues behind them, both sides have made it to the decider amid tough conditions and the UAE heat.

Head to head

Although Pakistan enjoy a better head-to-head record – winning 13 of the 22 matches – their last T20 win over Sri Lanka came in October 2017 (the two sides have played just four T20s since).

In Friday’s dress rehearsal for the final, Sri Lanka outclassed Pakistan by five wickets, although the latter did have Shadab Khan and Naseem Shah sitting out.

Route to the final

Sri Lanka

Lost to Afghanistan by eight wickets

Beat Bangladesh by two wickets

Beat Afghanistan by four wickets

Beat India by six wickets

Beat Pakistan by five wickets

Pakistan

Lost to India by five wickets

Beat Hong Kong by 155 runs

Beat India by five wickets

Beat Afghanistan by one wicket

Lost to Sri Lanka by five wickets

Will Pakistan have Khan and Shah back?

Hopefully. While fast-bowler Shah, who stunned Afghanistan with two sixes in the final over, was said to be rested, Khan has been niggling an injury that the team, and the country, hope he can overcome in time for the final.

Khan has scored 46 runs for Pakistan in two innings and claimed seven wickets, while Shah has been the team’s standout bowler, putting his all in during testing, humid conditions and picking up six wickets.

Babar’s form a worry?

Definitely. His 30 off 29 balls in Friday’s match followed a first-ball duck against Afghanistan. His other scores in the tournament are 14(10), 9(8) and 10(9).

His opening partner Mohammad Rizwan, however, has been in sparkling form, taking some pressure off the captain.

Is this redemption for Sri Lanka?

The “hosts” came into the tournament not expected to reach the final.

Afghanistan thumped them by eight wickets in the tournament opener. The next match was a close high-scoring win for Sri Lanka that helped them progress to the Super 4s.

However, three wins out of three have made them somewhat of a contender for the title they have previously won five times.

Sri Lanka captain wary of complacency

“The confidence we have is massive after four consecutive wins, but we still don’t take Pakistan lightly in the final,” captain Dasun Shanaka told reporters on Saturday.

“We know they are a very good side and enough good players in their side to come back strong and we should be ready for that.”

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