Asia Cup 2022: Sri Lanka prove a T20 World Cup point with India win

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Asia Cup 2022: Sri Lanka prove a T20 World Cup point with India win
Asia Cup 2022: Sri Lanka prove a T20 World Cup point with India win

Asia Cup 2022: Sri Lanka prove a T20 World Cup point with India win

Asia Cup 2022: After defeating India to get to the Asia Cup final, batsman Bhanuka Rajapaksa claimed Sri Lanka had dispelled their reputation as underdogs and demonstrated their ability to contend at the T20 World Cup taking place next month.

Rajapaksa’s side won three straight games in the Twenty20 competition, which was transferred from Sri Lanka to the United Arab Emirates because to political upheaval and an economic crisis, after coming back from a devastating opening loss to Afghanistan.

In the Super Four match on Tuesday in Dubai, Sri Lanka defeated pre-tournament favourites India by six wickets thanks to an unbroken 64-run partnership between captain Dasun Shanaka and Rajapaksa.

“We were underdogs from the time that we came to the UAE. We all know how Pakistan and India are on their day,” said Rajapaksa, who hit an unbeaten 25.

“So we had less pressure and all we wanted to was prove a point to the world, especially to our nation because with all the crisis happening back home this is the only thing with which we could bring smile to their faces.”

Pakistan will face Sri Lanka in the final on Sunday and eliminate India if they defeat Afghanistan later on Wednesday.

Despite the nation’s ongoing struggles with food and fuel shortages as well as rolling blackouts, Sri Lanka, who won the T20 World Cup in 2014 and the 50-over World Cup in 1996, have had success on the field this year.

“After the statements that we have made, I don’t think we could be called underdogs any more,” said Rajapaksa.

“I think so far we have done it quite well and we have really good chance of clinching the World Cup.”

The team won rich praise for the win over India with former captain Mahela Jayawardene, tweeting: “Great win boys!!! Attitude was brilliant. Never gave up… keep it going.”

Rajapaksa added: “No matter what state we come to UAE. The end goal is to win the trophy, we want to clinch the title.

“So I think we are pretty confident as a team. Everyone is clicking.”

Another ex-captain, Kumar Sangakkara, praised the group’s “never say die spirit” and “sparkling potential and ability.”

Rajapaksa said that maintaining confidence by sticking with a stable roster of Sri Lankan players had been beneficial.

“From captain’s view, and selectors and coaches, they have been backing the players. And also it’s a very good sign,” he said.

“Going forward it will really help Sri Lankan cricket to rebuild their brand. That was also there a couple of decades back.”