Former India batter turned veteran commentator Aakash Chopra has praised Sri Lanka for bouncing back brilliantly against Afghanistan in their opening match of the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 as well. They started their campaign on a dismal note as they were thrashed by Mohammad Nabi and Co. by eight wickets as well.
While reviewing Friday’s game in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra said: “How badly they lost the first match – remember that Afghanistan match where the team had folded up for 105. Now they are not taking the name of losing. Their turnaround is praiseworthy because all of us had criticized them when they were dismissed for 105. All of us had said that this team came just to participate and cannot compete, they will not win. But they have not lost a single match after that. Of course, Dasun Shanaka has won all the tosses but they have played well. They have made a fist by combining all five fingers.”
Sri Lanka pipped Bangladesh by two wickets in their final Group B game to qualify for the Super 4 stage. They chased down challenging targets comfortably in their first two Super 4 clashes against Afghanistan and India before registering a convincing win against Pakistan in Friday’s game.
Speaking about Sri Lanka’s chase against Pakistan, Aakash Chopra said: “The run chase was going absolutely topsy-turvy. Hasnain’s ball got an outside edge and Kusal Mendis was out for zero. Haris Rauf picked up a wicket from the other end. It was a far-away delivery, Gunathilaka hits and gets out. If you see Pathum Nissanka’s numbers before this Asia Cup, you will find that he scores runs in the first innings but not in the second. But he has scored runs in this entire tournament and here he went unbeaten, took his team home.”
However, Aakash Chopra has criticized Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman’s batting approach as they failed to contribute much. They were bowled out for 121 after being asked to bat first in Dubai and Sri Lanka chased down the below-par target with five wickets and three overs to spare.
“When you lose the toss, you get to bat first, and then there are expectations of runs. To be very honest, the truth is bitter, none of the top three tries to hit except Mohammad Rizwan, who at least tries to find fours and sixes, to drive the game, and gets out while doing that as well. Babar and Fakhar were playing as though they wanted the other person to hit. Neither of them was hitting. You were going run-a-ball in the first ten overs. You score 30 runs off 29 balls. It will not work out,” he added.
“How will runs be scored? I know you have less might in your batting down the order but the captain has to be a little aggressive and show his class. I am a little disappointed. All of us have a lot of expectations from Babar but the intent was not seen. After that, there was no life seen in the batting, whether it was Iftikhar, Khushdil or Asif Ali. The wickets fell in a jiffy. Pakistan have problems against leg-spin for a long time. Wanindu Hasaranga came here and was hitting the stumps, you didn’t know at all how to play him,” Aakash Chopra concluded.