Asia Cup T20 2022: Highest Run Scorer, Wicket Taker and Player of Tournament

With the end of the 15th Asia Cup, we look at the players that stood out and the impact of the tournament on the forthcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The 2022 Asia Cup ended in a fairytale conclusion for Sri Lanka, who were proclaimed winners for the sixth time in the tournament’s history.

The victory couldn’t have come at a better time for Sri Lanka, not just as a team moving into the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, but also as a nation and supporters who have been going through a difficult period at home.

Their campaign got off to a bad start as they were bowled out for 105 against Afghanistan and had to chase the total down in 10.1 overs. The Islanders were on the verge of elimination in the group stage before snatching victory from the jaws of loss against Bangladesh.

They were an unstoppable force from then on, and more crucially, a strong, well-gelled unit. They defeated India and Afghanistan in the Super Four stage before beating Pakistan twice in a row, including the championship game.

1. Highest run-scorer: Mohammad Rizwan (281 runs in six matches)

Mohammad Rizwan had a fantastic Asia Cup, becoming the No. 1 rated ICC Men’s T20I hitter throughout the competition.

The wicket-keeper hitter began the campaign with a well-made 43 against India, which was followed by two match-winning fifties. He anchored the innings with an unbeaten 78 off 57 as the team chased 194 against Hong Kong for a position in the Super Four. Rizwan was Pakistan’s leading scorer once again in the Super Four encounter against India when he hit a match-winning 71 off 51 balls in a thriller. 

After a pair of poor batting performances, Rizwan struck 55 off 49 balls in the final versus Sri Lanka, although he was far from his best. The six that brought up his fifty moved him above Virat Kohli’s tournament record of 276 runs, but the 30-year-old couldn’t lead his team to victory in the final.

2. Highest wicket-taker: Bhuvneshwar Kumar (11 wickets in five matches)

With the T20 World Cup fast approaching, India couldn’t have picked a better moment for Bhuvneshwar Kumar to break out.

The right-arm bowler began his campaign with a bang, taking 4/26 against Pakistan in the group stage, including the scalps of Babar Azam and the dangerous Asif Ali.

He was at his most economical against Hong Kong, conceding only 15 runs in three overs while picking up a wicket. He was costly in the Super Four match against Pakistan and went wicketless in the match against Sri Lanka.

With his swing, the 32-year-old wreaked havoc in India’s final match of the competition. Bhuvneshwar Kumar took his maiden T20I five-wicket haul, all of which came during the Powerplay. He won the game with the mystical figures 4-1-4-5. Despite playing less games than Pakistan and Sri Lanka, he ended the tournament with the most wickets.

3. Standout Performer: Wanindu Hasaranga (Nine wickets, 66 runs in six matches)

Wanindu Hasaranga had a mediocre start to the competition but finished well to demonstrate his status as a champion. He finally finished as the second-highest wicket-taker and scored crucial runs when it counted.

The leg-spinner failed to make an impact in Afghanistan’s frantic chase of 106 and was costly in the game against Bangladesh, despite taking two wickets. He was wicketless in the first two games in the Super Four phase, but changed the game for Sri Lanka at the conclusion.

In the last Super Four match against Pakistan, he broke the back of the batting order by dismissing Babar, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Asif Ali for 121 runs. He scored 10* from three balls in Sri Lanka’s comfortable win against Pakistan with three overs to spare.

In the final against Pakistan, Hasaranga stepped out to bat in the ninth over with Sri Lanka down by 58/5. With a four off the opening ball, he set the tone for Sri Lanka’s fortunes to shift.

Despite being five down, Hasaranga did not give up and continued to push the boundaries. In the 13th over, he hammered Mohammad Hasnain for six and four. He was out after smashing Haris Rauf for successive boundaries, but his 21-ball 36 helped Sri Lanka gain momentum. His innings assisted Bhanuka Rajapaksa in preserving his wicket for the final overs, which proved crucial as the Lions went on to record a target of 171.

He was wicketless in his first three overs with the ball. He turned the game on its head, though, when charged with bowling the 17th over, snaring Mohammad Rizwan, Asif Ali, and Khushdil Shah while conceding just two runs. Pakistan never recovered from that point on, as Sri Lanka went on to win the game by 23 runs.

Best Quotes

Bhanuka Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka:

“Looking forward, we want to maintain this momentum leading up to the World Cup. With the situation at home, this is a difficult moment for all Sri Lankans, but we hope we have brought some smiles to our people’s cheeks. This is for the entire country; they have been waiting for this for a long time.”

Saqlain Mushtaq, Pakistan’s coach:

“We got to the final of an Asia Cup here after reaching the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup last year. The evidence shows that you did something well to get here.”

Virat Kohli, India’s batter:

“Right now, I’m feeling really lucky and appreciative. I’ve learned a lot in the last two and a half years. I’ll be 34 in November, so all of my festivities are in the past.”

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