Bhanuka Rajapaksa has credited the Sri Lankan teams positive mindset to help him play without undue pressure and score the required runs to set his team up for a famous victory. He discussed his batting approach during the game and how he built up the partnership with Wanindu Hasaranga.
Sri Lanka looked to have lost the thread of the match very early on in the Asia Cup final against Pakistan on Dubai, crumbling to a glamorous pace attack and left reeling at 58/5. However, the Lions' middle order had other plans, particularly Bhanuka Rajapaksa. Combining with the ever-reliable Wanindu Hasaranga, the duo put on 58 runs for the sixth wicket in just 36 balls, clinching the momentum before the former ran away with the game. He ended up with 71 runs in just 45 deliveries, lacing his knock with six boundaries and three maximums.
“It was not easy out there. They were bowling well. Wanindu and I had a nice plan. The nature of Sri Lanka team is to be positive and not have pressure. That helped us score runs," he said in the post-match press conference as per India Today.
“When Iftikhar was bowling, Wanindu wanted to attack, but fortunately both of us were getting the runs," Bhanuka added.
The 30-year-old's efforts were enough to take the side to 170/6 at the end of their 20 overs which proved to be too steep for Pakistan as they crumbled for a measly 147, 23 runs short of the opposition total. Previously in the tournament, Rajapaksa had also played match-winning quick cameos against Afghanistan and India but ensured he stayed on the crease longer during the final to adapt to the match's requirements.
“I had to change my game today since Pakistan were top at the moment. Had to spend some time in the crease," Rajapaksa admitted.
“When Chris came to talk to us at the drinks break, I told him that it looks like a 140 pitch. And eventually we stayed till the end and the eventual target was much different. This is a game of momentum, and we set the momentum in the last over of the first innings," he concluded.