INDIA: Pakistani cricket legend Shoaib Akhtar vehemently denied allegations of match-fixing surrounding India’s recent victory over Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup. In a resounding 41-run win, Indian bowlers, led by Rohit Sharma’s impressive half-century and Kuldeep Yadav’s stellar 4 for 43, played a pivotal role in securing India’s spot in the final with a modest total of 213 runs. Sri Lanka was subsequently bowled out for 172 runs.
With India now holding four points and only one match remaining, the Sri Lanka-Pakistan encounter takes on the significance of a virtual semifinal, following Bangladesh’s early elimination.
Despite some unusual social media chatter during India’s batting innings against Sri Lanka, the match concluded with India comfortably clinching victory.
Accusations emerged from a group of Pakistani spectators, suggesting that India intentionally played subpar cricket to eliminate Pakistan from the Asia Cup.
However, this conspiracy theory was widely rejected by most online cricket enthusiasts, including former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who strongly criticized the rumor mongers. A victory for Sri Lanka in that match would have extinguished Babar Azam’s team’s hopes of claiming the Asia Cup.
Akhtar expressed bewilderment over these allegations of a match-fixing conspiracy, insisting that India’s subpar performance was a result of the Sri Lankan bowlers’ commendable efforts, with Wellalage notably contributing both with the ball and the bat, scoring 43 runs. Akhtar further revealed that he has been inundated with phone calls regarding these baseless claims, which he has consistently refuted.
Additionally, Akhtar offered a critical assessment of Pakistan’s performance against India, drawing a comparison to Sri Lanka’s resilient display. Pakistan struggled, getting dismissed for a mere 128 runs while chasing a challenging target of 357. He applauded Kuldeep’s performance and highlighted Jasprit Bumrah’s efforts to defend a relatively small total.
The emergence of 20-year-old player Wellalage as a valuable contributor among the Sri Lankan team members, both in batting and bowling, caught many by surprise.
Akhtar emphasized that the blame should not be directed at the quick bowlers, asserting that Pakistan surrendered their chase too easily without putting up a fight, leaving him disheartened by the team’s lackluster performance.