It was a breeze for the Men in Blue. Even though the weather was a question mark, victory was never in doubt as India defeated Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in the Asia Cup 2023 to win their record-extending eighth Asia Cup title.
Mohammed Siraj went on a rampage, cleaning up the Sri Lankan batting order. Five batters were dismissed for mere ducks and stood bamboozled as Siraj swung one delivery after the other to lead the way for India.
Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya joined the party too, as they clinched the remainder of the four wickets, to restrict the defending champions to a total of 50 runs.
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For the Indian batters, it was not a matter of doubt, but time as Ishan Kishan and in-form batter Shubman Gill breezed through the chase of 51 in just 37 balls as India won the final by 10 wickets at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday, September 10.
For India, the Asia Cup was a tournament riddled with questions regarding the return of many star players. The tournament witnessed the likes of KL Rahul step up and make his statement as he came back after a excruciating injury during the IPL earlier this year. It was also just the jolt that speedster Jasprit Bumrah needed to get going at full speed before the ODI World Cup arrives.
And it was indeed Bumrah who Pakistan legend Wasim Akram had a few words of advice for, especially given the injury Bumrah was returning from.
The talisman ex-captain of the Pakistan side shared his two cents on how India should go about in utilising their star players ahead of the ever-nearing ICC ODI World Cup. He also shared a few pointers on how to handle the swashbuckling batting duo of Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav.
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“Out of the three games (against Australia), Bumrah should play at least two as he is coming out of injury. His rhythm is looking good, he’s looking incredible but his muscles can get stronger. Suryakumar Yadav is struggling in ODIs recently, he can play all those five games (Australia series and two warm-ups). Sometimes, Virat can rest as well because it is a long World Cup. They have to play 9 games,” Akram said on Star Sports following India’s win over Sri Lanka.
All that lies ahead for India before the World Cup now is their series against rivals Australia, which will consists of three ODIs in the lead-up to their warm-up matches against England and Netherlands for the World Cup.