The decider between Sri Lanka and Pakistan was an absolute thriller; Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first. Sri Lanka's bowling was absolutely beautiful, and they were successful in taking away crucial early wickets that significantly slowed Pakistan's run rate; at one point, it looked like they would get restricted under 200, but Mohammed Rizwan's confident, flawless batting and Iftikhar Ahmed's role as a finisher allowed Pakistan to reach a fantastic total of 252-7 in 42 overs.
That is far from an easy total to chase, but Sri Lanka was hungry for a win; they lost a few early wickets, but their run rate was on point till the last ball. During the ending phase of innings 2, Sri Lanka slowed down a little and lost a few wickets, putting Pakistan back in the game.
The equation was 8 runs in 6 balls, which further broke down to 6 runs in 2 balls, and that 4 hit by Charith Asalanka broke Pakistan's hope of winning. The very next ball, Asalanka hit a beautiful shot and comfortably took 2 runs and sent his team to the finals.
Watch the entire match highlights below: Sri Lanka will now face India on 17th September for the finals.
Post match interview Dasun Shanaka (Sri Lanka's captain)
"We had the game under control, but the loss of wickets took it till the last over," Shanaka said as quoted by cricbuzz.com.
"We gave them a chance to come back in the game, but we knew Charith could get us home. We had a discussion before batting and we discussed the mistakes we made in the India game. We gave away wickets in the first 10 overs, and Kusal and Sadeera played brilliant knocks.
I think they are the best players of spin in the Sri Lanka squad. And Charith, he showed great character. Special feeling, back to back finals. I must thank the crowds who kept supporting us, and looking forward to the finals".
Post match interview| Babar Azam (Pakistan's Captain)
"In the end, we decided to bowl our best bowlers," Azam said as quoted by cricbuzz.com. "That's why I decided to bowl Shaheen the second last over and then we believed in Zaman Khan for the final over.
SL played really well, they played better cricket than us, that's why they won. We weren't up to the mark with our bowling and fielding, that's why we lost. (One major factor that could have been different) In the middle overs, we are not bowling well.
That partnership (between Mendis and Samarawickrama) cost us. We are starting well, we are finishing well, but we are not taking wickets in the middle overs.