Sri Lanka were down and out in their first Asia Cup match against Afghanistan but the way they scripted a comeback was exemplary to say the least. Before the start of the tournament, no one gave them a chance but Sri Lanka defied all odds to lift the trophy.
The victory will surely give the fans, who are going through a very tough time back home, a reason to smile. Skipper Dasun Shanaka thanked the fans for their unconditional support.
"I want to thank the crowd; they have been supporting us massively. Hopefully we made the fans back home proud today," he said.
Toss has been an important factor in T20s in the UAE for a long time and batting first hasn't been a fruitful move. But Shanaka said that the result of the 2021 IPL was in his mind.
"In the IPL 2021, Chennai [Super Kings] won the match batting first and that is what was in my mind. These youngsters know the conditions really well."
Wanindu Hasaranga's counter-attacking 36 off 21 after losing five wickets cheaply was one of the key points of the match. Also, the six off the last ball of Sri Lanka's innings from Bhanuka Rajapaksa helped Sri Lanka gain a lot of momentum.
"Wanindu [Hasaranga] made a huge impact after losing five wickets. Chamika [Karunaratne] and DDS (Dhananjaya de Silva) batted really well too. The last ball six [from Rajapaksa] was the turning point," Shanaka said.
Rajapaksa, who was the top-scorer with unbeaten 71 off 45, told head coach Chris Silverwood that it was a 140 wicket. But the late flourish helped them reach 170 which was the 'mental difference', according to Shanaka.
Sri Lanka captain also heaped praise on fast bowler Pramod Madhushan who got four wickets and dismantled Pakistan.
"It (the Afghanistan loss) happened for a good reason. We had serious discussions after that game. Each and every individual did well for us and that is how we became champions. The fielding improved a lot in the finals. We had some mistakes in the league stages. We were 100% today, credit to the players and the coaching staff. I want to thank the Sri Lankan cricket board and the selectors as well," Shanaka concluded.