Sunday’s Asia Cup final saw India destroy Sri Lanka by ten wickets after almost three weeks of play and rain throughout the regional competition.
For five of the six competing nations, the 50-over tournament, which was hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka, served as a warm-up for the 2018 ODI World Cup in India.
AFP Sport examines five significant occasions.
Rain caused the group match between Pakistan and India to be abandoned, but not before Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi stunned the Indians with his left-arm speed.
In Pallekele, Shaheen bowled captain Rohit Sharma and then Virat Kohli. Along with other quicks Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah, India was dismissed for 266 in the one and only innings that could be played.
In the subsequent encounter between the bitter rivals, India won by 228 runs thanks to a brilliant display of stroke play by Pakistan’s quicks.
Although Naseem and Rauf’s injuries during the match dealt a setback to Pakistan before the World Cup, Shaheen said in an AFP interview that his “best is yet to come.”
The best was reserved for last by India’s Mohammed Siraj, a quick bowler who took six wickets in one over, including four in the Lankan batting order.
Siraj bowled a devastating run of fast bowling in gloomy circumstances, returning his best-ever ODI figures of 6-21 to help knock out Sri Lanka for 50 in 15.2 overs.
After India defeated Pakistan by 228 runs in their Super Four encounter, with to centuries from KL Rahul and Virat Kohli, the team’s performance brought an end to a remarkable few weeks.
In a meaningless encounter against Bangladesh, opener Shubman Gill too left his mark with a brilliant 121, although in a losing cause.
After sneaking into the Super Fours with a thrilling victory against Afghanistan, Dunith Wellalage was one of the young players from Sri Lanka who put up a great display for the underdogs.
With the important wickets of Rohit and Kohli, the left-arm spinner achieved his first five-wicket haul in a Super Four match against India, bowling the opponents out for 213.
Even though Wellalage finished the pursuit undefeated at 42, the 20-year-old’s performance gave the squad more confidence.
After that, in a thrilling last-ball match, fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana and batsman Charith Asalanka enabled the island country overcome Pakistan to advance to the championship.
warriors of the rain
Hailed as “unsung heroes” by Sri Lanka Cricket and the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), an army of one hundred ground crew members wearing orange jerseys sprinted with the covers every time rain stopped play.
Due to political difficulties, India declined to travel Pakistan, therefore rain caused havoc for nine out of the thirteen matches of the tournament to be played in Sri Lanka.
To the chagrin of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the exciting India-Pakistan match was called off due to showers in Pallekele. The teams then proceeded to Colombo for a Super Four match that was given a reserve day.
The groundskeepers were congratulated by Rohit and Kohli for their hard work, and a $50,000 incentive will be divided among the workers by the ACC and SLC.
On their debut in the Asia Cup, Nepal was put through its paces as Pakistan easily defeated the cricketing underdogs for 104 in the first match held in Multan.
In a rain-soaked group match that they ultimately lost by 10 wickets, the Rohit Paudel-led team did, however, leave a mark on the formidable Indian team, posting 230 all out in 48.2 overs.
Paudel said that after the match, he and his team had a “useful” conversation with Rohit and Kohli.
After qualifying for the ODI World Cup earlier this year, Nepal—who is still becoming established in international cricket despite obtaining ODI status in 2018—made headlines.