Following a remarkable 41-run triumph over Sri Lanka in their second 2023 Asia Cup Super Four encounter, India secured their place as the first team to officially secure a spot in the final. India's path to the title decider required them to dig deep after their comprehensive performance against Pakistan, which spanned over two days.
The second finalist would emerge from the showdown between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, with Bangladesh already eliminated from contention after losing both of their Super Four matches. Sri Lanka, who were the Asia Cup champions last year, now boast one win and one loss. Judging by their performance against India, it appears that Pakistan faces a tough challenge in defeating them and advancing to the final, particularly if Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah remain sidelined.
The Pakistani pace duo sustained injuries during the match against India, preventing them from even taking the field to bat. Although Pakistan has enlisted replacements for them, their hope lies in having both Haris and Naseem fit for the crucial match against Sri Lanka.
With a Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka clash scheduled for September 14 and no reserve day, let's consider the qualification scenarios: Both teams are currently tied with 2 points, essentially making this game a virtual semi-final. The victor on September 14 will face India in the final.
Rain has disrupted several matches in the 2023 Asia Cup, and if it interferes on Thursday, Sri Lanka would benefit. Despite being tied on points, Pakistan currently occupies third place due to their inferior net run rate, standing at -0.892. In contrast, Sri Lanka holds the second spot with a net run rate of -0.200.
The weather forecast indicates a 90% chance of precipitation in Colombo on Thursday.
For the record, India has secured the most ODI Asia Cup titles, lifting the trophy six times over the years. In contrast, Pakistan has clinched the title twice, while Sri Lanka boasts five ODI Asia Cup victories.