In the high-stakes world of cricket, controversies are never too far away. The Asia Cup 2023 witnessed a moment of drama and intrigue when former Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar’s passionate rant during the India vs. Sri Lanka match went viral on social media. This Super-Four clash held significant implications for Pakistan’s chances of qualifying for the final of the Continental Cup.
The India vs. Sri Lanka match in the Super-Four stage was pivotal for Pakistan’s prospects in the Asia Cup 2023. If India had lost this game, it could have complicated Pakistan’s path to the final, even if Pakistan had managed to defeat Sri Lanka on Thursday. The key factor here was the net run rate, and unless Bangladesh had pulled off a comprehensive victory against India, Pakistan’s fate hung in the balance.
The Men in Blue, however, posted a total of 213 runs, a score that wasn’t considered insurmountable. What caught the attention of viewers and experts alike was the outstanding performance of the 20-year-old Sri Lankan sensation, Dunith Wellalage, who took five wickets. This display of skill and composure left cricket enthusiasts in awe.
Shoaib Akhtar, known for his straight-talking nature, didn’t hold back during the match. He revealed that he was receiving messages suggesting that India had fixed the game against Sri Lanka. These messages alleged that India was intentionally losing to eliminate Pakistan from the tournament.
Sri Lanka played their heart out but India were superior on the day. pic.twitter.com/nJPPUa9EWe
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) September 12, 2023
Akhtar said, “I don’t know what you guys are doing. I am getting memes and messages saying ‘India have fixed the game’, that they 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. Did you see that 20-year-old kid? He scored 43 runs and took 5 wickets. I am getting phone calls from India and other countries, saying India was losing deliberately.”
Amidst the controversy, Akhtar also praised the Sri Lankan bowling attack, acknowledging their remarkable performance. He questioned the logic behind the idea that India would intentionally lose a crucial match, emphasizing that every team aspires to qualify for the final.
Akhtar’s comments ignited a firestorm on social media, with fans and pundits speculating on the allegations. However, he quickly urged fans not to engage in baseless speculation and urged everyone to appreciate the competitive spirit of the game. He defended India’s performance as a commendable fightback.
“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 added.
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