The Lankan Lions started their campaign in the continental tournament on a dismal note as they were thrashed by Mohammad Nabi and Co. by eight wickets.
Dasun Shanaka's side have won their next four matches since that hammering, including a five-wicket win against Pakistan in Friday's (September 9) Super 4 game, which was a dress rehearsal for Sunday's final between the two teams.
While reviewing Friday's game in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Chopra was all praise for the Lankan side. He elaborated:
"How badly they lost the first match - remember that Afghanistan match where the team had folded up for 105. Now they are not taking the name of losing. Their turnaround is praiseworthy because all of us had criticized them when they were dismissed for 105."
While acknowledging that Sri Lanka have been slightly fortunate with the toss, Chopra pointed out that they have gelled together as a unit. The former India batter observed:
"All of us had said that this team came just to participate and cannot compete, they will not win. But they have not lost a single match after that. Of course, Dasun Shanaka has won all the tosses but they have played well. They have made a fist by combining all five fingers."
The Lions pipped Bangladesh by two wickets in their final Group B game to qualify for the Super 4 stage. They chased down challenging targets with relative ease in their first two Super 4 clashes against Afghanistan and India before a convincing win against the Men in Green in Friday's game.
"The run chase was going absolutely topsy-turvy" - Aakash Chopra
Speaking about Sri Lanka's chase against Pakistan, Chopra pointed out that they had gotten off to a poor start. He said:
"The run chase was going absolutely topsy-turvy. Hasnain's ball got an outside edge and Kusal Mendis was out for zero. Haris Rauf picked up a wicket from the other end. It was a far-away delivery, Gunathilaka hits and gets out."
Chopra praised Pathum Nissanka for taking his team across the line with an unbeaten half-century. The renowned commentator stated:
"If you see Pathum Nissanka's numbers before this Asia Cup, you will find that he scores runs in the first innings but not in the second. But he has scored runs in this entire tournament and here he went unbeaten, took his team home."
Nissanka's unbeaten 55-run knock came off 48 deliveries and was studded with five fours and a six. Bhanuka Rajapaksa (24), Dasun Shanaka (21) and Wanindu Hasaranga (10*) also played important cameos to help their side chase down the 122-run target.
Poll : Will Pathum Nissanka score a fifty in the Asia Cup final?