Colombo: Sri Lanka pulled off a nail-biting win over Pakistan by two wickets under the Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-affected Super Four match of the Asia Cup cricket tournament, thanks to Kusal Mendis’ 91 off 87 balls and Charith Asalanka’s unbeaten 49 off 47 balls. Mendis and Samarawickram (48) shared a 100-run stand for the third wicket to set up the chase of Pakistan’s 252. Asalanka held his nerve in the end and scored the winning run on the last ball. Sri Lanka will face India in the final on Sunday.
Earlier, Pakistan posted 252 for seven in 45 overs, reduced from 50 overs due to rain. Wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan played a brilliant knock of 86 not out off 73 balls with six fours and two sixes and added 108 runs for the sixth wicket with Iftikhar Ahmed (47 off 40 balls). They helped Pakistan score 102 runs in the last 10 overs. Opener Abdullah Shafiq also contributed with 52 off 69 balls.
The match was interrupted by rain again and the number of overs was further reduced to 42. Sri Lanka was given a target of 252 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method. Mathias Pathirana was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka, taking three wickets for 65 runs.
Kusal Perera (17) started aggressively for Sri Lanka, hitting three fours off Shaheen Shah Afridi (2 for 52) in two overs, but was run out soon after. Nissanka and Kusal Mendis then steadied the innings.
Nissanka hit two fours each off Zaman and Mohammad Wasim, while Mendis also found the boundary off Shaheen. Sri Lanka reached their fifty in the eighth over. Shadab Khan (1 for 44) broke the partnership by catching Nissanka on his own ball. He made 29 runs. Mendis then joined hands with Sadira Samaravikram. Samaravikram hit two fours off Shadab in the 18th over to complete the team’s hundred, while Mendis also scored a four in that over. They rotated the strike well and punished the loose balls.
Mendis reached his fifty in 47 balls with two runs off Mohammad Wasim. Sri Lanka required 92 runs to win in the last 15 overs. Samaravikram completed the century stand with Mendis by taking two runs off Iftikhar (3 for 50) but was stumped by Rizwan on the next ball. He hit four fours in his 51-ball knock.
Mendis hit a four off Zaman and Asalanka smashed a six off Iftikhar. Mendis reduced the equation with a six off Iftikhar as well. However, he was caught by Mohammad Haris off the same bowler in the next over. Sri Lanka needed 33 runs to win in the last five overs. Iftikhar struck again by getting captain Dasun Shanaka (02) caught by Nawaz. Asalanka kept Sri Lanka in the hunt with a four off Shaheen and another one off Zaman.
Sri Lanka needed 12 runs in the last two overs. Shaheen dismissed Dhananjay de Silva (05) and Dunith Velalage (00) on consecutive balls, putting Sri Lanka under pressure. Sri Lanka needed eight runs in Zaman’s final over. Only two runs were scored on the first three balls and Madusan was run out on the fourth ball.
Babar hit fours on Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka and Pathirana but Velalage, who took five wickets in the last match against India, got him stumped by wicket’