Pakistan and Sri Lanka will clash today (Sunday) in what is expected to be a thrilling Asia Cup 2022 title decider at the Dubai International Stadium.
A day before the final, both teams rested without any cricket activity. Pakistan will have two changes in the team for the final. Shadab Khan and Naseem Shah, who were rested for the Super Four match, will be included in the team. In the Super Four tie, Hassan Ali and Usman Qadir played in their place.
Meanwhile, insiders said that the Pakistan team management is upset over the consistent lack of runs from Fakhar Zaman and the middle order.
Playing their 11th final of the Asia Cup, the Islanders will make every effort to lift the trophy for the sixth time. Pakistan has reached the final of the cricket contest for the fifth time and is in good shape to win the trophy for the third time.
Pakistan on Friday lost to Sri Lanka by five wickets in the Super Four stage. However, head coach Saqlain Mushtaq played down the defeat, saying Pakistan are eyeing the big picture – winning the trophy.
“We just wanted to try a few things as our attention is focused on the final. You would see a different Pakistan team than what you saw the other day in a relatively insignificant match. Every player would perform at his optimal level in the final as all our energies are focused on winning the Cup,” he said.
Captain Babar Azam encouraged the team members, saying, “I am lucky to captain a team that is full of potential. Every player is a matchwinner. We see a new Man of the Match in every match.”
He also praised Naseem Shah, saying, his “two sixes against Afghanistan reminded us of Javed Miandad’s heroics.”
Babar also attached high importance to winning the toss as according to him, the team batting second always has the advantage in Dubai. “I feel that the toss will have its role in the outcome of the match,” he said.
Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka said Pakistan is a very competent team.
Shadab Khan said, “When we lost the first match of the tournament against India, we were confident we would rise. And rise we did. Rizwan played exceptionally well against Hong Kong, followed by a comprehensive bowling display that helped us earn a confidence-boosting win. Nawaz demonstrated superior all-round skills against India in the Super Four match, and although I was the player of the match against Afghanistan, those two sixes by Naseem Shah will be eternally remembered.”
Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam (c), Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan (vc), Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain.
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Danushka Gunathilaka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Pramod Madushan, Maheesh Theekshana, Dilshan Madushanka.