(ACC Photo)SYLHET: Sri Lanka stole a thrilling one-run victory in the semi-final of the Asia Cup against Pakistan to set up a title clash with India on Saturday.
Sri Lanka chose to bat after winning the toss and posted a below-par total of 122 runs. Pakistan's Nashra Sandhu picked up three wickets to help her team restrict Sri Lanka to a low total.
Pakistan's chase started with a bang after the opening pair of Muneeba Ali and Sidra Ameen walked out to chase the Sri Lankan total, with Ali being the aggressor of the two.
The batter stroked three boundaries in the first three overs and looked in great touch, looking set to score big. Pakistan was at 31/0 after three overs owing to Ali's aggression and wayward bowling from the Sri Lankan bowlers as they gave away plenty of extras.
Sri Lanka was desperate for a wicket and it came in the form of a freak run-out as Muneeba Ali who looked set for a good inning was run out owing to fielding brilliance from the Sri Lankans and some harsh luck on the side of the Pakistani. She was dismissed for 18(10).
Pakistan's captain Bismah Maroof walked in to bat at three and came out all guns blazing as she struck a boundary on her first ball, making her intentions very clear. She hit another boundary at the beginning of the fifth over.
Pakistan ended their powerplay at 46/1 after the team showed the intention to be aggressive from the beginning of the inning.
Sidra Ameen's uncomfortable stay of 9(20) was ended by Hasini Perera in the seventh over to give Sri Lanka the second wicket.
The Pakistani captain then shared the crease with Omaima Sohail as the duo took Pakistan to the 10-over mark without losing any more wickets. The team scored 62/2 at the halfway mark.
Sohail was then dismissed by Kavisha Dilhari to give Sri Lanka its third wicket. Last match's star performer Nida Dar walked in at number four to share a 42-run stand with the Pakistani captain.
Maroof played a superb inning and looked set to take the team home but was dismissed with the victory just within reach. She saw hee timber being knocked over by Sugandika Kumari to give Sri Lanka an opening.
They struck again in the 19th over to dismiss Ayesha Naseem to make things more nervy and exciting as the match headed into the final few overs.
Pakistan needed nine runs off the final over to ensure an India-Pakistan Asia Cup final but faltered in the final over, knocking them out of the tournament.
Pakistan was unable to find boundaries in the final overs as the team just couldn't find the gaps and lost wickets at crucial junctures.
It required three runs of the final ball to win the match and two runs to force a super over but Nida Dar could only manage one run to hand Sri Lanka a dramatic win, setting up the title clash with India on Saturday, October 15.
Brief Score: Sri Lanka 122/6 (Harshitha Madavi 35, Anushka Sanjeewani 26; Nashra Sandhu 3/17) vs Pakistan 121/6 (Bismah Maroof 42, Nida Dar 26; Inoka Ranaweera 2/17)