Sri Lanka beat Pakistan to win Asia Cup after impressive Rajapaksa knock

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A fine batting effort from Bhanuka Rajapaksa and crucial contributions with bat and ball from Wanindu Hasaranga saw Sri Lanka win the Asia Cup as they beat Pakistan by 23 runs in Sunday's final in Dubai.

Sri Lanka had beaten Pakistan by five wickets in the Super Four on Friday to top the table, but nerves might have been jangling after Pakistan won the toss ahead of the title decider.

Prior to this meeting between two first-time 20-over finalists, 17 of the previous 20 T20I winners in Dubai had been the sides batting second.

And things did not start well for Sri Lanka either, with Kusal Mendis out to his first ball in one of five wickets inside nine overs.

However, after Dhananjaya de Silva had set the table with 28 from 21 balls, Rajapaksa led the recovery with the bat as he hit 71 from 45.

Hasaranga also ably supported with 36 from 21 as Sri Lanka posted a target of 171 that would prove beyond Pakistan.

Sri Lanka's start with the ball was similarly sloppy, with Dilshan Madushanka conceding nine runs before he had bowled a legal ball, but Pramod Madushan turned the tide by taking the wickets of Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman from consecutive balls.

Pakistan, having scored just 37 runs in the powerplay, improved courtesy of a partnership of 71 between Mohammad Rizwan (55) and Iftikhar Ahmed (32) before Madushan (4-34) struck again.

Then it was Hasaranga's turn in a dominant 17th over that had three wickets – including Rizwan's – to set up a straightforward finish that saw Pakistan all out for 147.