Asia Cup 2023 came to a terrific conclusion last night as India defeated Sri-Lanka by 10 wickets at Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium. The continental tournament, which was played in the ODI format this year, served as a good platform of preparation for teams set to participate in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 in India.
We witnessed some of the best Asian cricketers in action who displayed great levels of patience in challenging circumstances. Asia Cup 2023 was held in accordance with Pakistan Cricket Board’s Hybrid model which saw matches take place in both Pakistan and Sri-Lanka.
While games held in Pakistan went smoothly, most of the games that took place in Sri-Lanka were marred by rainy conditions. When India and Pakistan first met in Asia Cup 2023, we could only see the 1st innings as the match could not take place due to constant rain.
When they met for the 2nd time in Super 4 stage, their match was completed in the Reserve day as India won by 228 runs. Then during the virtual semi-final between Pakistan and Sri-Lanka, the game had to be accomodated in 42 overs with the Lankans winning the tie in the final ball.
As the battle for Asia Cup 2023 ends, attention will shift to the ICC CWC next month. Reigning champions England will play the opening match against 2019 edition’s runners-up New Zealand on October 5. But before the World cup starts, let’s take a look at the Top 5 Bowlers who took the most wickets in Asia Cup 2023.
- Matheesha Pathirana: Nicknamed “Baby Malinga”, 20-year-old Matheesha Pathirana in his first ever Asia Cup appearance ended up taking the most wickets in 2023’s ODI edition. Having made his 50-over debut on June 2023 during a 6-wicket loss against Afghanistan, Patheerana took 11 wickets in Asia Cup 2023 in 6 matches. He bowled a total of 40.5 overs, giving away 270 runs with a best of 4/32 against Bangladesh.
- Dunith Wellalage: Another 20-year-0ld Sri-Lankan that heavily impressed during Asia Cup 2023 is left-arm off-spinner Dunith Wellalage. He rattled every opposition during the tournament with his disciplined line and length at home conditions. Wellalge overall bowled 42 overs in 6 Asia Cup matches, taking 10 wickets including a Five-wicket haul in his first ever match against India.
- Mohammad Siraj: “Miyan Bhai”, Hyderabad born pacer Mohammad Siraj became the talk of the town after a splendid day out with the ball in Asia Cup 2023 final. 6 out of his 10 total wickets in Asia Cup came in the final, with 4 of those coming in his first over itself. He bowled some sensational out and in swingers to remove the likes of Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Sadira Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya Da Silva and Dasun Shanaka. In 5 matches, Siraj bowled 26.2 overs with an average of 12.2 and took 10 wickets.
- Shaheen Afridi: Pakistan left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi was expected to finish on top of this list but with his side bowing out from the Super 4 stage, the 23-year-old was unable to do so. Regardless of that, Shaheen had a decent Asia Cup 2023 campaign. He played 5 matches, bowled 41 overs, took 10 wickets with an average of 23.50.
- Kuldeep Yadav: Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav also had a very good outing in Asia Cup 2023, becoming the player of the tournament for his contribution in India’s 8th Asia Cup title win. Kuldeep played 5 matches and collected 9 wickets in 2 of the games against Pakistan and Sri-Lanka (Super 4). His 9 wickets included a five wicket haul against Pakistan and a 4-wicket haul against the Lankans. Kuldeep has the lowest average in the top 5 list of most wicket takers in Asia Cup 2023 – 11.44.