The Asia Cup 2023 ended on September 17, 2023, with India defeating Sri Lanka in a crushing performance in the final in Colombo. This was India’s 8th overall Asia Cup title and 7th title in 50-overs format tournament. For India, Shubman Gill finished with the most runs in 302 in 6 matches with two half-centuries and one century with an average of 75.50 and strike-rate of 93.49. Kusal Mendis might have failed in the final, but he made 270 runs, while his teammate Sadeera Samarawickrama accumulated 215 runs in the tournament.
Babar Azam of Pakistan made 207 runs with the majority of them coming against Nepal, where he scored 151. To complete the top 5 most run-getters in the Asia Cup 2023, Mohammad Rizwan came in at 5 with 195 runs to his name with a best of 86* in the crunch match against Sri Lanka.
However, the focus is on the best knocks in the tournament and many knocks made careers of young guns and veterans, showed that they still have it in them.
Here are the Top 5 best batting performances in the Asia Cup 2023:
5. Shakib Al Hasan (BAN)- 80 vs IND
Shakib Al Hasan. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Shakib Al Hasan might be on the wrong side of 30 for Bangladesh, but he led the team brilliantly. Unfortunately for them, the Tigers just couldn’t start well against Pakistan in the Super 4s encounter and then lost to Sri Lanka as well to exit the race of the final.
But they had one more match in hand against eventual winners India and Shakib Al Hasan showcased the reason why he is considered to be the greatest all-rounder in ODIs. Batting first, Bangladesh posted 265/8 despite being 59/4 at one stage, and all because of Shakib Al Hasan. The captain rebuilt the Tigers’ innings with a sublime knock of 80 in 85 balls.
He not only negotiated the spinners well in the middle overs, but before that, the left-hander had overcome the rampaging Indian pacers. He hit 6 fours and 3 sixes in his knock showing that he could balance between aggression and defence well. Shakib then returned 1/43 with the ball and marshalled his troops well as Bangladesh ended the tournament on a good note with a win.
4. Ishan Kishan (IND)- 82 vs PAK
Ishan Kishan. (Photo Source: ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)
This knock of Ishan Kishan had come in a Group A game between India and Pakistan in Pallekele Stadium in Kandy. The match was riddled with rain delays and was ultimately abandoned before Pakistan could bat. India batted first after winning the toss and found themselves 66/4 with Shaheen Afridi removing the two bigwigs of Indian batting Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Haris Rauf had then accounted for Shreyas Iyer and Shubman Gill and it was left to Ishan Kishan and Hardik Pandya to save India. Kishan was batting at the no.5 spot, where he had not succeeded before, but showcased immense self-control and determination against spin.
He added more than 100 runs with Pandya scoring 82 in 81 balls with 9 fours and 2 sixes and only got out because he was exhausted as he also ran hard between the wickets. The good thing to see from Kishan was how he negotiated the three spinners in the middle overs and milked them for runs.
3. Najmul Hossain Shanto (BAN)- 89 vs SL
Najmul Hossain Shanto. (Photo Source: MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Another knock that deserved a century came from Najmul Hossain Shanto of Bangladesh against Sri Lanka in a Group B game at the Pallekele Stadium, in Kandy. This match was the second match of the group stage and both the teams were looking for a win. Bangladesh chose to bat first after winning the toss but the decision backfired.
Sri Lanka pacers demolished the top order as Bangladesh reeled at 141/6 with Shakib Al Hasan making 5, Tanzid Hasan making 0, and Mushfiqur Rahim making 13 runs. However, Najmul Hossain Shanto showed great valour and courage to face the Lankan spinners and pacers and continued to make his runs.
Shanto crafted 89 in 122 balls with 7 fours and he built small partnerships with lower order to take Bangladesh to 164. He deserved a century but was deceived by Maheesh Theekshana in death overs. It was a knock of maturity and while he did score a century in the tournament, Shanto couldn’t do much as he injured himself against Pakistan in the Super 4s stage and couldn’t continue.
2. Shubman Gill (IND)- 121 vs BAN
Shubman Gill. (Photo Source: Ishara S.KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo by ISHARA S.KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)
Shubman Gill is widely regarded as the next big thing in Indian cricket when batting is considered and in 2023 he has shown why. The Punjab batter is the leading run scorer in the ODIs in 2023 and already has hit 4 centuries and 4 fifties to score 1052 runs at an average of 70.13 and strike-rate of 104.50.
He finished the Asia Cup 2023 as the highest run-getter with 302 runs and his best knock unfortunately came in a losing cause to Bangladesh. India was chasing 266 to win the match, but the Bangladeshi bowlers made life hell on a slow, turning wicket. Rohit Sharma got out for a duck and debutant Tilak Varma made 5. There was no Virat Kohli, who was rested for this game.
The onus fell on Shubman Gill and the youngster almost single-handedly took India past the finish line. He made 121 in 133 balls with 8 fours and 5 sixes and showed incredible maturity by building whatever partnerships he could with the middle order. Gill looked like he would win the match on his own, but a poor shot under pressure cost him his wicket and India ultimately lost by 6 runs.
1. Virat Kohli (IND)- 122 vs PAK
Virat Kohli (Photo Source: Twitter)
Many would think that this knock came on a wicket conducive to batting, the India vs. Pakistan Super 4s clash in Colombo was a huge encounter after their first meeting was rained out. The match saw Pakistan winning the toss and putting India in to bat first to take advantage of early moisture and conditions.
But Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill hammered fifties on day one and added 100 runs in just 13 overs to deny Babar that advantage. But the rain caused the match to be resumed on reserve day and that’s when carnage happened. KL Rahul and Virat Kohli went after the Pakistani bowling which missed Haris Rauf due to injury. The duo added 233* runs together, scoring 209 runs in the last 25 overs or so, as India posted 356/2 in 50 overs
Though KL Rahul scored 111*, the knock of the match came from none other than Virat Kohli, who paced his innings very well. His 94-ball 122* featured 9 fours and 3 sixes, two of which came in the last over of the India innings. Kohli ran well between the wickets and took advantage against spinners. This was his 77th overall century and 47th ODI century, bringing him just 3 short of becoming the first batter to hit 50 tons in ODIs.