Home > Features >

Sri Lanka’s young guns, Pakistan’s lethargic fielding and other key highlights of Asia Cup final

Lasith Malinga proved to be the telling difference between both sides © AFP
Lasith Malinga (left) proved to be the telling difference between both sides © AFP (File Photo)

Sri Lanka remained undefeated in the Asia Cup, as they won the title for the fifth time by beating Pakistan. Abhijit Banare presents talking points of the final.

The old Lasith Malinga is back

How many yorkers can Malinga bowl in an over? six? Well even if he can, his excellence lies in having faith in other variations as well. Throughout the Asia Cup 2014, Malinga has used the trademark toe-crushing yorker judiciously. But that doesn’t mean batsmen relax. Sharjeel Khan though, turned out to be a victim of Malinga’s new trap. Sharjeel’s confidence sky-rocketed having smashed two boundaries off Malinga. Suddenly, he felt as though the fuller deliveries too are meant to be hit out of the park. The next thing that happened was the fuller delivery yielded one wicket and the good length deliveries were equally good enough to fetch two more.

Malinga is back, but he is much more cleverer now than just using to toe-crushers blindly. Not to forget, another variation up his sleeve which was hardly seen in this tournament and that is the slower bouncer. Probably he has kept it for ICC World T20 2014. Those three wickets in consecutive overs by Malinga, set the momentum in Sri lanka’s favour.

Pakistan though, recovered brilliantly, the eventual total was never going to be a daunting one. Here, it has to be remembered only Malinga can achieve bizarre statistics. This is the first time, a bowler has bagged all the wickets to fall in an innings with a five-for.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq (batting in picture) came to their rescue with a fine innings © AFP
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq (batting in picture) came to their rescue once again with a fine innings © AFP

Misbah-ul-Haq is still the crisis manager

The only thing that seems to remain constant about Misbah is his hunger to save Pakistan from crisis situations and the anticipation of fans to see him score a century (which never happens). Or to put it dramatically, Misbah has missed scoring a century on 37 occasions (every time he scored a fifty). At 18 for three, Misbah was all set to dig deep and do the repair work. The innings by Fawad Alam only made things easier for the Pakistan skipper. He is now the oldest skipper to lead Pakistan at 39 years and 284 days, as of March 9. And next time Pakistan play an One-Day International (ODI) series, he might cross 40. Age is just a number for Pakistan fans when Misbah is rescuing the team. His 65 runs and the 122-run partnership with Alam once again put Pakistan back in a fine position after they found themselves in a spot of bother early on.

Fawad Alam essayed a century for Pakistan in Asia Cup 2014 final © AFP
Fawad Alam essayed a century for Pakistan in Asia Cup 2014 final against Sri Lanka © AFP

Fawad Alam: Moustachioed men are still in vogue

Leave alone the moustache, when Fawad goes on one knee trying to slog over midwicket, it seems as though Fawad is a duplicate version of ’Sir’ Jadeja. And as far as the stance is concerned, at least we know now Shivnarine Chanderpaul has inspired someone. With this two unique features, Fawad scripted his maiden ton. Looking at his style of batting, he doesn’t have an ideal game to play  aggressively. Right through the innings one could hear the awkward sound of ball hitting the toe end of the bat. Yet he hung on and accelerated towards the end.

Kusal Perera's batting  was full of fireworks in the Asia Cup 2014 final game against Pakistan © afp
Kusal Perera’s batting was full of fireworks in the Asia Cup 2014 final game against Pakistan © AFP

Sanath Jayasuriya watches his look-alike!

There’s something about aggressive batsmen which keeps viewers and commentators delighted. There is no logic or pattern to their batting which makes the unpredictability a fun to watch. Kusal Perera would be delighted to record a sparkling performance in front of the legend he admires — Jayasuriya. Remember MS Dhoni telling the value that Virender Sehwag brings by scoring quickly at the start? It allows others to play their natural game. Sri Lanka have found a player who can do this job for years to come.

Mahela Jayawardene saved his best for the final of the tournament © AFP
Mahela Jayawardene (batting in picture) saved his best for the final of the tournament © AFP

Sri Lanka’s man-friday for finals

Mahela Jayawardene and big-match situations go hand-in-hand. It was embarrassing to see a world-class batsman struggling innings after innings. On Saturday, Jayawardene  settled in and found his touch. But once the confidence started building, those late cuts and other shots started flowing from his willow. Losing the best batsman in the side for golden duck didn’t deter him. He was in his own zone rebuilding the innings and accumulating runs with Thirimanne. His knock of 75 from 93 balls just shut the door on Pakistan.

Pakistan's Sharjeel Khan made a mess of a catch on the boundary line. Photo Courtesy: StarSports.com
Pakistan’s Sharjeel Khan made a mess of a catch on the boundary line. Photo Courtesy: StarSports.com

Which of the two is more lethargic, Fielding or bowling?

In an era, where fielders take spectacular catches defying gravity, Sharjeel did the 19th century error of taking a catch and stepping on the boundary line. If that wasn’t enough, the failure to keep the batsmen under pressure by denying them quick singles was missing. When Jayawardene and Thirimanne realised that they were going to remain unchallenged while taking singles, they took singles at will. The bowling of Pakistan was a continuation from the Bangladesh match. Barring Saeed Ajmal, none looked penetrative enough to suffocate the batsmen from the other end. Much of Ajmal’s work was undone.

Lahiru Thirimanne w AFPas in sublime touch in the Asia Cup 2014 final © AFP
Lahiru Thirimanne was in sublime touch in the Asia Cup 2014 final © AFP

Lahiru Thirimanne lands knockout punch

All the three left-handers in the top three of the Lankan batting have been excellent and unique in their style. Perera goes for the shots, Sangakkara likes to sweetly time his drives. Thirimanne enjoys playing behind the wicket with glides down to third-man and hitting past point. It’s not just his promotion in the opening but the maturity with which Thirimanne played his innings was noteworthy. Third century — two of it coming in this series shows how well Thirimanne has adapted himself as an opener. Even after Jayawardene departed, Thirimanne refused to give up and continued the vigil.

All in all, it was a clinical performance from Sri Lanka. The new players are establishing themselves in the side and it showed in their performance against Pakistan in the final. It would be interesting to see how well they adapt in future. They truly deserve the Asia Cup title.

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad


West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts


Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test


Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younis Khan’s double ton puts Pakistan on top against Australia at stumps on Day 2 of 2nd Test

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Central Zone 214/4 at stumps; lead by 111 runs

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

India vs Sri Lanka 1st ODI at Cuttack, Preview: Teams aim for winning start

WICB officials should visit India to minimize damage: Andy Roberts

Younis Khan: I want to be remembered as team-man

ICC World Cup 2015: New Zealand prime minister urges Indian fans to attend the tournament

Mohammad Yousuf: Muttiah Muralitharan would not have been allowed to bowl under current ICC rules

Don Bradman dismissed twice on the same day

Virat Kohli’s captaincy opportunities important in context of India’s succession plans

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here