Sri Lanka secured a spot in the final of the Asia Cup 2023 by defeating Pakistan in a thrilling Super 4 match that concluded on the last ball.

One of the most captivating cricketing battles of the Asia Cup 2023 unfolded on Thursday as Sri Lanka narrowly edged past Pakistan in an exhilarating last-ball encounter, earning them a place in the tournament final. Kusal Mendis played a stellar innings, scoring 91, while Charith Asalanka provided steadfast support with an unbeaten 49, setting the stage for a final showdown against India. Pakistan appeared to be in a favorable position to win after Shaheen Afridi’s remarkable penultimate over, but Sri Lanka managed to reach the target of 252 runs, scoring 6 runs from the last 2 balls.

Contributions from Abdullah Shafique (52) and Mohammad Rizwan (86 not out) guided Pakistan to a competitive total of 252 for 7 in 42 overs after opting to bat on another rain-affected day.

However, Sri Lanka’s response was equally strong, with Mendis and Asalanka surpassing the target on the very last ball of the match, dashing hopes of an India-Pakistan summit clash.

Following an early departure of Kusal Perera, Mendis, alongside Pathum Nissanka (29), stabilized the Sri Lankan innings with a 57-run partnership for the second wicket.

Yet, an even more remarkable partnership awaited the Sri Lankans, despite Nissanka giving a return catch to Shadab Khan.

Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama (48 off 51 balls) combined forces to add 100 runs for the third wicket, gradually closing the gap for Sri Lanka.

Mendis showcased his natural striking ability and impeccable timing during his innings. The right-handed batsman confidently handled spinners and faced the faster bowlers with assurance.

Samarawickrama, despite being struck on the helmet once by Shaheen Afridi, displayed sensible cricket at his end.

However, his stay at the crease came to an end due to a momentary lapse. Iftikhar caught him off guard with a slightly fuller delivery, and Rizwan executed an easy stumping.

Mendis, along with Asalanka, added another 33 runs, but Iftikhar returned to dismiss him.

Mendis attempted to flick the ball off his pads but ended up with a leading edge, which was superbly caught by a diving Mohammad Harris.

Subsequently, Sri Lanka found themselves in a state of panic, losing four wickets in as many overs, and it seemed like they were on the brink of squandering the chase.

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