Pakistan Cricket team's hopes of qualifying for the Asia Cup 2023 final were dashed when Sri Lanka triumphed in what was a virtual semi-final between the two sides in the Super 4 clash in Colombo. (More Cricket News)
Babar Azam's men nearly clawed their way back in the match but Charith Asalanka kept his cool and guided his side to a 2-wicket win. With the Men In Green out of the tournament, former pacer Shoaib Akhtar was dissapointed to see that there will be no India vs Pakistan in the Asia Cup.
Akhtar praised the new Pakistan pacer Zaman Khan, who came in as a replacement after injuries to Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah. Zaman did not pluck a wicket but the veteran bowler was left impressed with Zaman's performance overall in the match.
"You've seen the match. Pakistan are out of the tournament. The match that was made in favour of Pakistan, was all done by Zaman Khan. He landed the day before yesterday and this boy did excellent bowling in the Pakistan Super League. Whatever chances Pakistan had of winning the match were all because of him. Shaheen Afridi also got a few wickets but credit goes to Zaman. He bowled really well," Akhtar said in a video on his YouTube channel.
Akhtar also went on to say that Pakistan deserved to be in the Asia Cup 2023 final but said that Sri Lanka were the better side on the day.
"Pakistan deserved to win go to the Asia Cup final but they are out of the tournament. They can be criticised a lot as they were touted as the 'favourites' but are out of the tournament now. Unfortunately, there can't be a Pakistan vs India match in the final, it has never happened (kabhi Pakistan, India ka match (final) ho nahi sakta, kabhi hua nahi). This was the chance but Sri Lanka deserved to be the finalists. They were the far better team," he said.
With the ODI World Cup next on the horizon, Akhtar called Babar Azam's men to pull up their socks for the marquee event.
"Having said that, this is a very embarrassing loss. The fact that Pakistan are out of the tournament, doesn't look nice. Pakistan have a lot to think about. The captaincy needs to sharpen up a bit. I am very disappointed. Can't say more," he rounded off.