After having been delayed two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic and political turmoil in Sri Lanka, the 15th Asia Cup finally commenced in the United Arab Emirates in August 2022. Six teams qualified to partake in the tournament: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Throughout the coming month, the teams were drawn into two groups, facing each other for a position in the Super Four. By the time September rolled around, Hong Kong and Bangladesh were eliminated from the Asia Cup. As predictions began to roll in for who would lift the trophy, many critics favored Pakistan or India, the two highest rated teams, to come out victorious. However, Sri Lanka managed to remain undefeated in the Super Four, securing a spot in the Asia Cup finals against Pakistan.
On Sunday, September 11, 2022, the finals of the tournament commenced in the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, fans from across the world gathering in support of their favorite team. The match began with Pakistan choosing to field, having Sri Lanka step up to bat. Initially, Pakistan started off strong, hitting five wickets in roughly 50 balls; however, as the match progressed, Sri Lanka would take control, Pakistan’s fielding struggling to keep up with the opposing offense. Sri Lanka would make a total of 170 runs. For the remainder of the match, Pakistan would bat, but struggled to equal Sri Lanka’s score. Pakistan made a total of 147 runs, losing to Sri Lanka by 23 runs. Disappointed, the Pakistani team and fans would return home without a win. On the other hand, Sri Lanka’s team dethroned India as Asia’s champions and celebrated their first Asia Cup victory in eight years.
As the Sri Lankan team returned home, the country roared with applause. In the midst of a political and economic crisis, the celebratory joy of the unexpected win was felt throughout the nation. During the past few months, the streets of Sri Lanka had been filled with protests as the prior president fled the country and the economy was overhauled following the settlement of a $3 billion bailout package. However, the national sporting achievement instilled within everyone a sense of hope, fans pouring out into the streets to partake in the succeeding parades.