- Sri Lanka will play their 11th Asian Cup final while Pakistan will play their fifth.
- Sri Lanka have won the Asian Cup five times while Pakistan could lift the trophy twice.
- Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in a previous Super Four match.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka will face off today [Sunday] in the 2022 Asian Cup title-deciding match at the Dubai International Stadium.
A day before the final, both teams rested without any cricketing activity. Pakistan will have two changes to the squad for the final. Shadab Khan and Naseem Shah, who rested for the Super Four match against Sri Lanka, will be included in the squad. In the Super Four match, Hassan Ali and Usman Qadir played in their place.
Meanwhile, sources say the Pakistani team’s management are upset with Fakhar Zaman and the middle order’s consistent lack of runs.
Playing in their 11th Asian Cup final, the Islanders will go all out to lift the trophy for the sixth time. Pakistan have reached the final of the cricket contest for the fifth time and are in good shape to win the trophy for the third time.
Pakistan lost an earlier encounter with Sri Lanka by five wickets. However, head coach Saqlain Mushtaq played down the loss, saying Pakistan were looking at the big picture – winning the Asian Cup trophy.
“We just wanted to try a few things because our attention is focused on the final. You would see a different Pakistani team than you saw the other day in a relatively insignificant game. Every player would play at their optimum 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’m lucky to be the captain of a team full of potential. Every player is a winner. We see a new man of the match every match.”
He also praised Naseem Shah, saying his “two sixes against Afghanistan reminded us of the heroism of Javed Miandad”.
Babar also attached great importance to winning the draw because, according to him, the team beating second always has the advantage in Dubai. “I think the draw will have its part in the outcome of the game,” he said.
Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka said Pakistan were a very capable team. Shadab Khan said: “When we lost the first match of the tournament against India, we were confident that we would rise again. And we got up. Rizwan played exceptionally well against Hong Kong, followed by an all-around bowling show that helped us to a confidence-boosting win. Nawaz showed superior all-around skills against India in the Super-4 game, and although I was the player of the game against Afghanistan, those two Naseem Shah sixes will be remembered forever.”
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.