It wasn’t the India-Pakistan final many people were hoping for, but come close to midnight on Friday and there was no doubt that the Asia Cup final had exceeded expectations.
Bangladesh had earned their right to play defending champions after knocking out Pakistan in the Super Four stage on Wednesday. And they nearly went one step better than they did in 2012 and 2016, only for Kedar Jadhav and Yuzvendra Chahal to scrap a leg-bye in the last ball to earn India their seventh Asia Cup triumph.
Even without the world’s best batsman and regular captain Virat Kohli, the Men in Blue proved to be too strong for their continent rivals as the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Kuldeep Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah stepped up and showed their class.
The same can be said of finalists Bangladesh, who showed strong team spirit and character to pull them through when the pressure was on to stun Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Afghanistan, who continue to make shockwaves with their rapid rise, were surprisingly playing in only their second Asia Cup.
But they won hearts with how they played, pushing Pakistan, Bangladesh and India all the way.
For Sri Lanka and Pakistan, it was a tournament to forget while Hong Kong can hold their heads high on what has been a great learning curve for the minnows.
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