Pakistan’s fans were let down on Sunday as their team lost to Sri Lanka by 23 runs in the championship game of the 2022 Asia Cup at Dubai International Stadium. Pakistan, who was attempting to win their third Asia Cup championship, was bowled out at 147 while chasing 171 runs. There were low periods for the Babar Azam-led team during the game, but wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan’s sluggish 55 runs off 49 balls completely let down both cricket experts and fans. The batter took a lot of heat from a segment of social media, but on the plus side, Pakistan coach Saqlain Mushtaq defended him and said that nobody outside of a dressing room knows what happens in a locker room.
“It is their thinking. I always say that people who are sitting outside, look at things from the outside and then they comment on it. When the result comes, they look at the scorecard and then they give their comments. What is going on in the dressing room and in the minds of players, what situation players are in, people on the outside do not know about this,” said Saqlain Mushtaq in a post-match press conference. “I have also worked as a broadcaster sitting outside, it is easy to give comments. When you come inside the dressing room, you would know what is going on. From the outside, anyone can give comments,” he added. From a situation when even 150 appeared unlikely for Sri Lanka to attain, Bhanuka Rajapaksa played a superb performance of 71* off 45 deliveries to propel Sri Lanka to 170/6. Wanindu Hasaranga, who hit 36 off 21 deliveries, gave him a lot of help.
After that, Pramod Madushan claimed two wickets in two deliveries to quickly frighten Pakistan. A 71-run partnership between Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed was impressive, but the strain was mounting and their scoring rate was too low. Rizwan scored a half-century, but Madushan broke the stand and took his third wicket, and from that point on it was all Sri Lanka. To put an end to Pakistan’s prospects, Rizwan, Asif Ali, and Khushdil Shah were all expelled in one move. After Pakistan was eventually bowled out for 147 off the game’s penultimate delivery, the Sri Lankan players celebrated wildly.