India booked a spot in the Asia Cup 2023 final by defeating Sri Lanka in their second Super 4 match, but it looked like the hosts might just scrape through and secure a win, considering the way the first innings went. Sri Lanka spinner Dunith Wellalage ran through India’s top-order, bagging 5 wickets. As India were bowled out for 213 runs, many fans messaged former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar that India were deliberately trying to lose the match. However, Akhtar hit back at the fans, calling out their nonsense.
“I don’t know what you guys are doing. I am getting memes and messages saying India are losing deliberately in order to eliminate Pakistan. Are you alright? They (Sri Lanka) are bowling their heart out. Wellalalge and Asalanka bowled their heart out. You saw that 20-year-old kid? He scored 43 runs and took 5 wickets. I am getting phonecalls from India and other countries, saying India were losing deliberately,” Akhtar said in a video on his YouTube channel, hitting out at fans while lauding the fight that Sri Lanka showed in the game.
Akhtar even questioned fans why would India go on to lose the game where a victory would confirm their progression to the final. The Rawalpindi Express held special praise for India spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who bagged 4 wickets in the game to spin the match in his team’s favour.
“Why would they lose, tell me? They want to go through to the final. You end up making memes without any reason. It was a great fightback from India. The way Kuldeep played, it was massive. Look at Jasprit Bumrah, look at the fight while defending a small total,” Akhtar said.
The Pakistan legend even criticised Babar Azam’s team for the ‘lack of fight’ they showed in the last match against India. He even questioned the fitness of pacers Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah and Shaheen Afridi.
“Wellalage, a 20-year-old kid, is showing fight. He is batting and bowling, doing all he can. Our players (Pakistan) couldn’t show this fight. Our fast bowlers don’t play. When was the last they played 25-30 ODIs at a stretch? Then we expect Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah to deliver 10 overs and not get injured. I want the fight back from Pakistan. This was humiliating,” Akhtar asserted.
With India already through to the final, Pakistan would need to beat Sri Lanka in their next match if they are to seal the second spot in the title-deciding contest.
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