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Asia Cup 2023: Flop XI of Tournament

Babar Azam Wicket. (Photo Source: ISHARA S.KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Asia Cup 2023 tournament concluded on Sunday, September 17 with the Indian team steamrolling Sri Lanka in the final to become champions and lift their 8th Asia Cup title. It was total domination from the Men in Blue as Sri Lanka managed only 50 runs and lost the final by 10 wickets.

It was not only Sri Lanka that flopped in the summit clash, but throughout the Asia Cup 2023 tournament, some players were consistently failing to perform for their respective teams, which hampered their sides as well. Keeping this in mind, we have collated 11 of the worst-performing players from this Asia Cup 2023 who didn’t come to the party when needed.      

Here is the Flop XI of the Asia Cup 2023 tournament:

1. Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk)

Afghanistan expected a lot from their talented keeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz in the Asia Cup 2023. He was coming off a record 151 against Pakistan in an ODI in Hambantota and it was expected he would be in top form when the crucial tournament began.

However, it was the complete opposite for Afghanistan as Rahmanullah Gurbaz failed to score even double figures in both the matches he played. He made 1 run against Bangladesh while Afghanistan was chasing 335 to win. And then against Sri Lanka, he managed just four runs as his side faltered in a chase of 292. 

2. Fakhar Zaman

Pakistan cricketer Fakhar Zaman. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The only double-centurion in ODIs from Pakistan, Fakhar Zaman suffered a horrific bout of poor form in the Asia Cup 2023. Much was expected from the flamboyant opener in the tournament, but the left-hander failed to cross 30 in any of the matches he played. His highest score remained 27, which came against India in Colombo.

Overall, the left-hander scored 65 runs in 4 innings at an average of 16.25 and a strike rate of 58.03. Zaman was clearly struggling in the middle and even his body language on the field was concerning. He was initially dropped from the crucial tie against Sri Lanka but was included when Imam-Ul-Haq suffered an injury. But Zaman couldn’t do much as he was cleaned up by Pramod Madushan for 4 runs.

3. Babar Azam (C)

Babar Azam Wicket. (Photo Source: ISHARA S.KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

While seeing the numbers overall, Pakistan captain Babar Azam scored 207 runs in 4 innings in Asia Cup 2023. He averaged 51.75 and had a strike rate of 97.64 and he hit 20 fours and 4 sixes as well. However, if one removes his knock of 151 against Nepal in Multan, it doesn’t leave Babar with to show his world-class ability in the tournament. 

Leaving those 151 runs aside, Babar only managed scores of 17 against Bangladesh, 10 against India, and 29 against Sri Lanka. The no.1 ranked ODI batter couldn’t come to the rescue of his team on two occasions. First, when under pressure of chasing 357 runs against India, Babar Azam was cleaned up by Hardik Pandya.

Then in a must-win tie against Sri Lanka in Colombo, Pakistan needed to set a huge score after choosing to bat first and Babar did get a start, scoring 29 in 35 balls. But Dunith Wellalage had him stumped by Kusal Mendis as he failed to read the spinner’s away-going delivery. 

4. Mohammad Naim

Mohammad Naim. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The tall left-handed batsman, Mohammad Naim is considered to be an incredibly talented batter from Bangladesh. However, his performance in the Asia Cup 2023 begged to differ as he barely managed to put up a score of any note in the tournament. Naim made 85 runs in 4 matches with a best of 28 at a strike-rate of 67.46.

He did get starts against all the teams he played against. He made 16 against Sri Lanka, 28 against Afghanistan, 20 against Pakistan, and 21 against Sri Lanka once more, but couldn’t capitalize on any of those to make a substantial score. This left Bangladesh becoming the first team to be eliminated from the race of the final.

5. Dhananjaya de Silva

Sri Lanka’s Dhananjaya de Silva. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Dhananjaya de Silva is an incredibly talented batter from Sri Lanka and he has showcased his class in the past. But Asia Cup 2023 proved to be a dull affair for the batter as he only managed 72 runs with 41 of those coming in a single innings. He averaged 12 with a strike rate of 61.53. He also picked up 3 wickets with his off-spin.

His only innings of note came against India. Sri Lanka had managed to restrict the Indian team to 213 runs after they chose to bat first. However, the Indian bowlers hit the Lankan batting hard at the top. Dhananjaya scored 41 with 5 fours and added valuable runs with Dunith Wellalage, but couldn’t take his team home. In other matches, Dhananjaya failed to score big, hampering his team’s chances. 

6. Gulshan Jha

Gulshan Jha bowling. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Nepal made its Asia Cup debut in the 2023 edition and was put in the same group against Pakistan and India. Pakistan hammered them on a batting track in Multan, but Nepal gave India a very good run for their money. 

One of the stars to look out for the Nepal team was 17-year-old Gulsan Jha, known for his perfume ball bouncers and brilliant all-rounder abilities. He couldn’t manage to pick any wickets and scored 36 runs in 2 innings. His best score of 23 runs came against India, as Nepal posted 230 runs against a full-strength unit. 

7. Dasun Shanaka

Dasun Shanaka (Photo Source: Twitter)

Dasun Shanaka came into the Asia Cup 2023 to defend Sri Lanka’s title. However, Sri Lanka did well despite missing some of their key bowlers, reaching the final. But the captain couldn’t contribute much to the team’s cause with the bat or the ball.

Shanaka only made 54 runs with a best of 24 and picked up 4 wickets in total. His best performance came against Bangladesh when he scored 24 runs propelling his team’s score to 257/9. He then picked 3 wickets, including that of Bangladeshi openers.

However, Shanaka’s decision to bat first in the final against India was scrutinized a lot as Sri Lanka only managed 50 runs. Shanaka himself managed a duck in the match. He was clean bowled by Mohammed Siraj who bowled a top-drawer outswinger, squaring the captain up and knocking his off-peg back.  

8. Shadab Khan

Shadab Khan. (Photo Source: SURJEET YADAV/AFP via Getty Images)

Pakistan vice-captain Shadab Khan was the premier spinner of his team but his performance spoke otherwise. Considered to be one of the best in the business, Shadab only managed 6 wickets in the tournament. Those wickets came at an average of 40.83 and an economy of 5.88.

His biggest failures came against India as in both matches he only picked a total of one wicket. He was belted for 71 runs in Colombo for his only wicket in 10 overs, despite bowling a maiden over. His best bowling came against Nepal when he picked 4/27. 

9. Kasun Rajitha

Kasun Rajitha. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)

With Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara out of action for the Asia Cup 2023, Kasun Rajitha was the most experienced pacer Sri Lanka had with 28 ODIs under his belt. Much was expected from the tall pacer and he did bowl well. But his good deliveries came in patches, as he only managed 4 wickets in 4 matches. 

Interestingly, all of his four wickets came in one game, against Afghanistan. The nail-biter saw Afghanistan having to score 292 in less than 36 overs to qualify for the Super 4s. And Rajitha was taken to the cleaners by Afghan batters as he went for 79 runs in his 10 overs. But the pacer managed wickets of both openers Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran, along with a set Rahmat Shah and a dangerous Najibullah Zadran.

10. Fazalhaq Farooqi

Fazalhaq Farooqi. (Photo Source: ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

Fazalhaq Farooqi was the lead pacer for Afghanistan in the Asia Cup 2023. However, he couldn’t even pick one wicket in the two matches he played in the marquee event. He went for 53 runs against Bangladesh. Though he was expected to come good in the next game which was scheduled against the hosts Sri Lanka, the bowler failed to show up yet again.

During the match against the hosts, the pacer leaked runs yet again only to end up conceding 52 runs against Sri Lanka, with both matches being played in Lahore. Afghanistan couldn’t do much in the tournament and exited in the Group stage itself. 

11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Photo Source: Twitter/Afghanistan Cricket)

Afghanistan is known for depending on their spinners to do most of the damage for them and one of the spinners of their famous duo is Mujeeb Ur Rahman. The right-arm mystery tweaker is considered to be one of the most dangerous bowlers in the world. 

The 22-year-old managed just 2 wickets in the Asia Cup 2023 picking 1/62 against Bangladesh in Lahore where Afghanistan was plundered for 334 runs. Then in the next match, also in Lahore, Afghanistan played a thriller against Sri Lanka. Mujeeb still managed only one wicket for 60 runs in his 10 overs. It was a disappointing performance from a talented bowler.

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