The Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Asia Cup Super 4 match at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo was special in more ways than one. It threatened to be washed out on multiple occasions but it didn’t. After overs were deducted twice – first it was reduced to a 45-over contest and then finally to a 42-over one – it looked like Sri Lanka were running away with the game before Pakistan made a late comeback with the ball through Iftikhar Ahmed and Shaheen Shah Afridi. The match went down to the wire where Charith Asalank kept his calm when two were required off the last ball to win the match for the hosts and take them to the Asia Cup final. Rain, drama, stunning performances, tension, and its see-saw nature were not the only things that made this match special. A glance at the final scorecard will tell you exactly why.
Pakistan posted 252 for 7 in their allotted 42 overs and then Sri Lanka finished with 252/8 in the same number of overs. Then how come the latter won? Technically, shouldn’t it have been a tie as the scores were level? The answer is no.
Here is why Sri Lanka won the match despite both teams finishing with 252 at the end of 42 overs
The match would have ended in a tie if it was a 50-over contest or even in this case, if it was a 45-over one as the five overs deducted from each side were before the play began. The DLS rule did not come into effect then. But things changed after the second rain stoppage. Pakistan were 130 for 5 in 27.4 overs when rain returned to force the players off the field. When play resumed after about 45 minutes, three more overs were deducted, making it a 42-over contest. But more importantly, the DLS method came into play.
Thanks to Mohammad Rizwan (86* off 73) and Iftikhar Ahmed (47 off 40), Pakistan made a strong recovery to post 252/7 in 42 overs. But because DLS came into play, Sri Lanka got a revised target. They were not chasing 253 but 252. 1 run was deducted from Pakistan’s total.
Why was 1 run deducted from Pakistan’s total and Sri Lanka got a revised target?
Pakistan still had three wickets in hand, shouldn’t runs have been added to their total? Again, no. It doesn’t matter how many wickets a side has lost at the end of their innings. It’s the number of wickets they lose before the rain stoppage that determines the final target for the opposition. That means, according to the DLS method, Pakistan, with five wickets down before the rain break, got an advantage because three more overs were deducted from the innings. Their final total was calculated based on that.
Would the total have been any different had Pakistan lost less than five wickets?
Of course! If Mohammad Nawaz had not been dismissed on the last ball before the rain stoppage, Sri Lanka would have gotten a target of 255 instead of 252. Similarly, if Pakistan lost fewer wickets than four, more runs would have been added to their final total while if they had lost more than five wickets then more runs would have been deducted from their total. This is how DLS method works. Wickets in hand is the most important factor in DLS calculations.
A last-over thriller
Sri Lanka needed eight from the final over and achieved the target with Asalanka’s winning hit on the last ball at 1.07 am local time.
A raucous home crowd rejoiced but the result broke the heart of millions of fans awaiting an India-Pakistan final in the 50-over tournament, a prelude to the upcoming ODI World Cup.
The left-handed Asalanka held his nerve despite Shaheen Shah Afridi’s two wickets in two balls in the penultimate over and the first four balls from Zaman Khan giving away just two runs and a wicket in the 42nd over.
Mendis set up victory with a 100-run third-wicket stand with Sadeera Samarawickrama, who made 48, but Asalanka took it on himself after their departure.