The genius move by the Sri Lankan tailender that put them in the Asia Cup final
Cricket and its laws can be rigid sometimes. However, those who know how to exploit them can severely impact the game's outcome. Last night, a clever tactic by Pramod Madushan saw Sri Lanka home after almost losing a game from a winning situation.
Sri Lanka’s No. 9, Pramod Madushan, showed excellent game awareness under a crunch situation in the last over of the game. With six runs required off the final three deliveries, Zaman Khan, who bowled superbly on his ODI debut irrespective of the result, attempted a slower yorker outside off against Pramod Madushan. Madushan, not known for his batting expertise, tried to heave this one as most of the tailenders would do at that point and missed the ball.
However, Charith Asalanka, who was at the non-striker’s end, ran towards the other end to steal a bye and get on the strike to face the final two deliveries of the match. But Pramod Madushan didn’t leave his crease despite seeing Asalanka sprinting towards him. While this move by Pramod looked baffling at the start, it was a canny game and law awareness shown by the tailender under immense pressure.
Madushan didn’t leave the crease to ensure Charith Asalanka got home safely. Had Madushan also ran before Asalanka made it on the other end, and Mohammad Rizwan, the Pakistani wicketkeeper, hit the stumps with his throw, Asalanka would have to depart. Remember, he was the only recognised batter left for Sri Lanka.
Hence, Madushan waited until Asalanka got in and then started to run towards the non-striker’s end. Rizwan missed his aim, but Zaman Khan was alert to pick the ball and effect an easy runout. Zaman had all the time in the world to dismiss Pramod, and he didn’t miss.
But Madushan had done his job by then. He sacrificed his wicket and was alert enough to put Asalanka out of danger as well as on the crease. Asalanka did his job and took Sri Lanka through to the Asia Cup final by showing fantastic composure under pressure.
However, Madushan showed that little things can make massive impacts in this game. The on-air commentators missed this tactic and criticised Madushan for this genius move. But, as it turned out, Madushan did the right thing.
To show such awareness under immense pressure shows the quality of Pramod Madushan to keep a cool head. Not many would have managed to do so in the same situation. While Rizwan missed his throw, and it didn’t matter eventually, all credit must be given to Madushan.
No one would have known whether Rizwan would hit or miss the stumps, so the safe route was to do what was best for the team, and Madushan did exactly that. How many batters would have been able to think that far under such circumstances? Not many, probably.
Sri Lanka scripted a memorable 2-wicket win in this rain-interrupted clash to book their place in the final. Madushan, who also impressed with his bowling in the first innings, showed how to use the rules in his and team’s favour. Many commentators and viewers missed the trick, but Pramod Madushan, the main man, didn’t.