• Monday, October 02, 2023


India tried to fix game against Sri Lanka in Asia Cup to knock out Pakistan? Shoaib Akhtar blasts rumour-mongers

India came back strongly to dismiss Sri Lanka for 172 runs after getting all out for just 213.

A scene from the India-Sri Lanka Super Four match in Colombo in Asia Cup 2023 on Tuesday, September 12, 2023. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

CRICKET is a religion in south Asia and when it comes to a tournament that features both India and Pakistan, how can controversies stay away for long?

While defending champions Sri Lanka and India were battling it in a Super Four game of the ongoing Asia Cup for two crucial points on Tuesday (12), claims were made that the Men in Blue were deliberately losing the game so that Pakistan, who they hammed by 228 runs in the previous match on Monday (11), did not qualify for the title round.

They were shattered in no time by Shoaib Akhtar, a former Pakistan fast bowler who backed India saying their bowlers were bowling their hearts out.

India put up a completely contradictory performance with the bat after their bombastic show against Pakistan to get bundled out for 213 inside 50 overs by the Sri Lanka spinners. After their opening batters Rohit Sharma (53) and Shubman Gill (19) put up 80 runs, India lost wickets in a heap to post a total that any opponent would be confident to overhaul.

But India came back strongly with the ball and after their opening pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj gave them some early breakthroughs, they dominated Sri Lanka and despite a late resistance from Dhananjaya de Silva and Dunith Wellalage, the islanders were bowled out for 172, losing the match by 41 runs.

The win took India to the final of the Asia Cup, first time since 2018, and they will now meet the winners of the game between Sri Lanka and Pakistan on Thursday (14).

However, even as India won, many discussed on social media during their batting that they were deliberately playing badly to gift the game to the Lankans. Whether India won or lost, the only way Pakistan could qualify for the final is by beating Sri Lanka in their final game.

Akhtar lashed out at the rumour-mongers and asked them whether they were out of their minds.

“I’m receiving messages that India have fixed the game, they’re playing badly so that Pakistan get knocked out. Are you guys out of your minds? They’re bowling their hearts out. Wellalage has bowled really well. He also scored 43. Suddenly, I’m receiving phone calls that India are losing so that Pakistan can get eliminated. Man, why would they lose? They could’ve reached the final with win, and they did. Absolute nonsense,” the 48-year-old with 444 international wickets, said.

He also said that Pakistan could not put up any resistance with the bat against India unlike Sri Lanka as they capitulated while chasing a mammoth target of 357 and got bowled out for 128.

He also praised India for coming back into the game against Sri Lanka despite scoring low and asked all to admire the fight that they put up while defending only 213.

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