Pakistan almost pulled off an almighty heist against Sri Lanka in an effective knock-out Super Fours game of the Asia Cup today (September 14), reducing the equation from 12 off the final two overs to two runs of off the final ball.

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Sri Lanka were cruising against Pakistan with two overs to go in their DLS-affected run chase. Pakistan had scored 252-7 batting first after rain reduced their innings to 42 overs, but one run was taken off Sri Lanka’s target after DLS adjustment to mean Sri Lanka would need to effectively tie the game by scoring 252 in their 42 to overs to win.

After Kusal Mendis scored 91 off 87 balls and Sadeera Samarawickrama added 48, the hosts were well above their required run rate coming into the final stages of the match. Mohammad Nawaz had dismissed Iftikhar Ahmed in the 38th over to keep Pakistan’s hopes alive, but Charith Asalanka calmly guided Sri Lanka to needing 12 off the final two overs without further loss.

Shaheen Shah Afridi came in to bowl the penultimate over and conceded three runs from his first three balls. His next two, however, turned the game on its head. He bowled a knee-high full toss to Dhananjaya de Silva which he skied straight to Mohammad Waseem at long on.

A ball later Shaheen was on a hat-trick, having dismissed Sri Lanka’s newfound star with the ball, Dunith Wellalage, with a thick edge from his first delivery. While Shaheen couldn’t complete the hat-trick from his next ball, crucially Pramod Madushan decided to take a single, meaning set-batter Asalanka was not on strike for the final over. Shaheen had shortened the odds to eight runs required from the final six balls.

Zaman Khan, fresh into the side after Naseem Shah’s injury, was trusted to bowl the final over. His first ball was a leg bye, bringing Asalanka on strike. His second was a dot and third a single, taking the strike away from Asalanka. Calamity then ensued for Sri Lanka as Madushan swung and missed at full ball from Zaman, but with Asalanka halfway down the pitch intent on taking the strike back, Madashun set off late, seemingly unaware of the situation. Mohammad Rizwan threw the ball to Zaman who enacted a direct hit at the non-striker’s end with Madushan well short of his ground. Sri Lanka had lost three wickets in seven balls and now needed six off the final two.

Asalanka, however, was the hero. He edged a four off Zaman’s next ball to leave two needed off the final ball. Zaman’s final ball was pace-off, which Asalanka clipped to deep square-leg and came through for two. Those two runs scored booked Sri Lanka’s place in the final against India on Sunday.