Team India outclassed Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2023 final in Colombo on Sunday (September 17), registering a thumping 10-wicket victory to clinch the coveted title for the record-extending 8th time.
In the summit clash, the Men in Blue bundled out the hosts for a paltry 50 in 15.2 overs on the back of Mohammed Siraj’s six-wicket haul (6/21). Hardik Pandya (3/3) and Jasprit Bumrah (1/23) shared the remaining four scalps between them.
In reply, Shubman Gill (27*) and Ishan Kishan (23*) made light work of the chase to take India home in just 6.1 overs.
After the title win, India skipper Rohit Sharma lauded his troops for stepping up in pressure situations during various phases of the tournament.
“It gives us a lot of confidence to come here and win a tournament like this. At various stages of the tournament, we were challenged in different parts of the game and we pretty much stood up to those challenges,” Rohit said in the post-match presser.
“On various conditions and on various bowling types, we did well. We can take a lot of positives from the tournament. Not just one or two players, but the whole team. Whoever got an opportunity, they did their job,” he added.
In the two high-voltage games against Pakistan, India’s middle-order looked in good shape. While Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya slammed half-centuries to power the team to a part total overcoming a rough start in the group fixture, KL Rahul smashed a dazzling century at No. 4 in the Super 4 clash.
“Some of our batters actually batted under pressure. In the first game Pakistan, four down for nothing, two guys stood up for us. Hardik (Pandya) and Ishan (Kishan) batted brilliantly and that was a big positive because we wanted the middle order to get in and take the pressure and bat the way they wanted,” Rohit stated.
“For KL (Rahul) to score that century…it is so tough to come in and play the way he did. We told him only five minutes before the game and to get a hundred, showed the quality of the player he is and how mentally he is ready for the challenge,” he remarked.
Kuldeep Yadav spun a web of destruction around Pakistani and Sri Lanka batters in the Super 4 round to script India’s thumping victories. While he wrist-spinner picked up a five-wicket haul (5/25) against Pakistan, he returned with four scalps (4/43) versus Sri Lanka.
Lauding Kuldeep, Rohit said: “When we bring Kuldeep under pressure, he delivers. His confidence goes up every time he bowls. When you get a bowler like him in the team, it’s great. When I see bowlers bowl like this, I get a lot of satisfaction.”
Talking about the pace department, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj were exceptional for India with the new ball while seam-bowling all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur also performed their roles to perfection.
“All the five bowlers have a lot of variation. When you get all this as a captain you feel confident. We have that variety in this squad,” Rohit said.
(The Indian Express Inputs)