Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan emphatically in the finals of the Asia cup by 5 wickets. Set a target of 261 to win, the Lankan lions chased the total with the help of 2 wonderful innings from Mahela Jayawardene and Lahiru Thirammane, with 3.4 overs to spare. It was quite a team effort form the Lankans in this win and various players came to the party at the right time when it was needed the most for the team.
Here we take a look at the 5 players who played a major role in Sri Lanka winning the Asia cup.
- Lahiru Thirammane: The Lankan opener scored 2 centuries in the tournament, both against Pakistan. He was in form throughout the tournament and finished as the highest scorer with 279 runs in the tournament. He played a very important innings in the finals which enabled the Lankans to make a return after losing 2 back to back wickets at the score of 56. His return to form was at the right moment and proved to be the right incentive that the Lankans needed to push for the championship.
- Lasith Malinga: Malinga started the tournament with a five for against Pakistan and ended the tournament with the same figure. He picked up 11 wickets in the tournament and made a huge difference in the finals as well. If it wasn’t for him (he ended up being the only wicket taker for Sri Lanka) the Pakistani could have gone on to score a total well in excess of 300, as he provided early break through with the ball which proved to be the only thing that kept the Pakistan batsmen quiet.
- Kumara Sangakara: The veteran southpaw failed to score in the last two matches, but it is no denying that he single handedly carried the Lankans to the finals. He made valuable contributions in the first three matches, including a century against the Indians. He ended up scoring 248 runs in the tournament with 2 half centuries and a century.
- Ajantha Mendis: Mendis was not played in either of the matches against Pakistan. But he was one of the strongest reasons why Sri Lanka won their other matches in the tournament. He took a total of 9 wickets in three matches and almost destroyed the Indian batting line up single handedly. It was only his and sangakara’s performance’s that carried the Lankan’s through the matches against India and Afghanistan.
- Angelo Matthews: the Lankan captain proved to be a major match winner in this Asia cup. Not only did he scored runs but was also useful with the ball whenever it was needed. He scored a total of 196 runs with a staggering average of 196. He came very useful to the Lankans as a match finisher and was not dismissed in any of the games except against the Indians.
So the Lankans have registered yet another Asia cup victory, their 5th overall. This was a very clean championship victory by the Lankans as they won the Asia cup without even losing a single match. We do have to spare a thought for the other players as well who have played important roles in the Lankan victory, players like Kushal Perrera, Suranga Lakmal and even Mahela Jayawardene who stepped up at the right moment to take his team to the finals victory. With that ends the Asia cup 2014 and boy what a tournament it has been. With at least 5 games that went down the line, this has been one of the most entertaining and definitely one of the most satisfying editions of the tournament.