The defending champions, Sri Lanka and unbeaten India sealed their place in the 3rd ACC Emerging Team’s Asia Cup 2018 final when they won their respective semi-final clashes on Thursday, 13th December in Colombo.

India comfortably defeated Pakistan by 7 wickets at CCC Grounds, while Sri Lanka got the better of Bangladesh by 4 wickets at R. Premadasa International Stadium in the two semi-final clashes.

India after bundling out Pakistan for a mere 172, chased down the target with more than 20 overs to spare. Early on, their decision to bowl first proved fruitful when fast-bowler Ankit Rajpoot removed Sahibzada Farhan and Hussain Talat to have Pakistan struggling at 5/2.

Zeeshan Malik and Saad Ali, both fell cheaply as the Indian spinners started to tie down the runs on a dry surface. But, skipper Mohammed Rizwan and Saud Shakeel resurrected the Pakistan innings with a fine 86-run stand. Rizwan top-scored with a patient 67 off 95 deliveries with 3 fours and 2 sixes before being castled by Atit Sheth.

Leg-spinner Mayank Markande was all over the Pakistani batsmen despite Shakeel batting alongside the lower order. He made 62 off 72 balls with 7 fours but Pakistan were bundled out for just 172 before even the 45th over. Markande continued his amazing form capturing another 4-wicket haul.

Chasing 173 runs to win, Indian batsmen coasted to victory with only 3 wickets down. The top three batsmen fell before the conclusion of the first powerplay. But, in-form Himmat Singh and Nitish Rana’s unbroken 126-run stand for the fourth wicket took India over the line.

Singh slammed 3 fours and 5 sixes during his 58-ball 59, while Rana scored a run-a-ball 60 with 6 fours and 3 sixes.

In the other semi-final, ambidextrous Kamindu Mendis yet again proved to be the star performer for Sri Lanka as they chased down Bangladesh’s 237 score in the penultimate over.

Earlier, after inserting Bangladesh on a placid pitch, right arm fast-bowler Chamika Karunaratne took two early wickets to give the perfect start for Sri Lanka.

Opening batsman Mizanur Rehman’s gritty innings of 72 off 95 balls, inclusive of 7 fours and 1 six, held the Bangladesh innings together. But, Sri Lanka took wickets at crucial intervals to peg back Bangladesh.

Yasir Ali slammed 66 off 72 deliveries to ensure Bangladesh post a reasonable score on the board. Karunaratne came back for a final burst to end with 4 for 31.

Opening batsman Sandun Weerakkody provided a blistering start for Sri Lanka as he clobbered 7 fours and 1 six during his 37-ball 47. But, Bangladesh kept on taking wickets at regular intervals as none of the other top order batsmen found going easy.

At 87 for 4, Mendis joined Shehan Jayasuriya to add a crucial 76-run stand to steady the Lankan chase. Jayasuriya was dismissed in a bizarre fashion when he was adjudged ‘obstructing the field’ on 39.

20-year old Mendis had no problems whatsoever as he combined with experienced Asela Gunaratne and Chamika Karunaratne to take Sri Lanka to the final.

Mendis slammed his third half-century in the tournament and remained unbeaten on 91 off 88 balls with 8 fours.

The final will be played on 15th December, Saturday at R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.

Thu 13-Dec

SF1: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at RPICS, Colombo
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field
Bangladesh: 237 all out off 49.1 overs (M.Rahman 72, M.Hossain 39, Y.Chowdhury 66; C.Karunaratne 4-31)
Sri Lanka: 241 for 6 off 48.2 overs (S.Weerakkody 47, S.Jayasuriya 39, K.Mendis 91*)
Player of the Match: Kamindu Mendis (Sri Lanka)

SF2: India v Pakistan at CCC, Colombo
India won the toss and elected to field
Pakistan: 172 all out off 44.4 overs (M.Rizwan 67, S.Shakeel 62; M.Markande 4-38)
India: 178 for 3 off 27.3 overs (N.Rana 60*, H.Singh 59*)
Player of the Match: Mayank Markande (India)


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Filed December 14th, 2018