It was a night to remember for Sri Lanka when they lifted the Asia Cup 2022 trophy after beating Pakistan by 23 runs on Sunday in Dubai. Prior to the commencement of the tourney, hardly anyone had given the island nation a chance to be the favourites. Be it the experts or the fans, most cricket lovers vouched for an Indo-Pak clash. But Sri Lanka came from behind with their never-let-die attitude and emerged as the new Asian Champions.

After losing the tournament opener to Afghanistan, they rejigged their plans and returned with a bang. They knocked Bangladesh out early, put India and Afghanistan in a spot of bother and defeated Pakistan twice to put their hands on the shining Asia Cup trophy.

The way Sri Lanka took off in the final clash on Sunday, it looked like an easy win for Pakistan. Shanaka & Co were reduced to 58 for 5 after which the viewers witnessed one of the most rollicking comebacks in the shortest format.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa changed the course of the game with a brilliant 45-ball 71 not-out, featuring in two fifty-plus partnerships. His knock, which was laced with 3 sixes and a boundary, helped Sri Lanka set Pakistan a challenging target of 171. In reply, Babar Azam & Co were bundled out for 147. The 17th over by Wanindu Hasaranga served as Pakistan’s death knell with three wickets falling in quick succession. Wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan scored a 49-ball 55, ending the tournament as the highest scorer with 281 runs (5 more than Virat Kohli). But his efforts went in vain.

From being written off completely to winning the Asia Cup title, the Sri Lankans travelled a long way to have their pride back. After winning the trophy, the players had a jubilant celebration where they danced their hearts out in the dressing room. The celebration video was shared by Asian Cricket Council on its official Twitter handle.

It was a victory that was just not about cricket but way beyond that with much deeper historical and political importance.

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