“Kabhi Pakistan, India ka final match ho nahi sakta, kabhi…”: Shoaib Akhtar On Asia Cup 2023 Final

The Asia Cup 2023, a tournament filled with anticipation and excitement, reached a crucial juncture as Pakistan faced off against Sri Lanka in what can only be described as a virtual semi-final. The winner would earn the coveted spot in the final, with a chance to face arch-rivals India for the title. However, Pakistan’s dreams were shattered as Sri Lanka emerged victorious.

One of the standout aspects of this crucial match was the performance of Pakistan pacer Zaman Khan. Drafted into the team due to injuries to key players like Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah, Zaman faced immense pressure. While he didn’t secure a wicket in the match and conceded 39 runs in his 6 overs, he left an indelible mark. Shoaib Akhtar quickly praised this young talent, acknowledging that Zaman’s contribution was pivotal. His impressive bowling in the Pakistan Super League had earned him a spot, and he certainly did not disappoint.

“You’ve seen the match. Pakistan are out of the tournament. Zaman Khan did the match made in Pakistan’s favour. He landed the day before yesterday, and this boy did excellent bowling in the Pakistan Super League. Whatever chances Pakistan had of winning the match were all because of him. Shaheen Afridi also got a few wickets, but credit goes to Zaman. He bowled well,” Akhtar said in a video on his YouTube channel.

The defeat was particularly painful for Pakistan, as it dashed hopes of a much-anticipated Indo-Pak final in the Asia Cup. Shoaib Akhtar expressed his disappointment, believing Pakistan deserved a final spot. However, he conceded that Sri Lanka outperformed Pakistan on that crucial day. The prospect of an India vs. Pakistan final in the Asia Cup, a rivalry celebrated in the cricketing world, slipped through their fingers.

“Pakistan deserved to win and go to the Asia Cup final, but they are out of the tournament. They can be criticised a lot as they were touted as the ‘favourites’ but are out of the tournament now. Unfortunately, there can’t be a Pakistan vs. India match in the final, which has never happened (kabhi Pakistan, India ka match (final) ho nahi sakta, kabhi hua nahi). This was the chance, but Sri Lanka deserved to be the finalists. They were the far better team,” he opined.

Shoaib Akhtar, visibly heartbroken by Pakistan’s exit from the tournament, termed it ’embarrassing.’ He called for introspection and improvement, especially in the leadership. The loss was indeed a bitter pill to swallow for Pakistan, and it left fans and cricket enthusiasts in a state of disbelief. Akhtar’s words served as a reminder of the high expectations of representing Pakistan in international cricket.

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“Having said that this is a very embarrassing loss. The fact that Pakistan are out of the tournament doesn’t look nice. Pakistan has a lot to think about. The captaincy needs to sharpen up a bit. I am very disappointed. Can’t say more,” he concluded.

The Asia Cup 2023 provided its fair share of thrills and surprises. While Pakistan’s journey ended in disappointment, Sri Lanka’s resilience earned them a spot in the final. The absence of an India vs. Pakistan final, a historic rivalry, left cricket fans yearning for what could have been. As the tournament concludes, teams will reflect, learn, and prepare for future challenges, including the impending ODI World Cup.

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