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Most 'Man Of The Match' Awards In ODI Asia Cup History

image-lljzzl8pSanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara complete a run (Twitter)

Cricket, being a thorough team sport, often turns into a stage where individual brilliance eclipses collective efforts. Such dazzling performances encompass ‘Player of the Match’ awards for those cricketers who, more often than not, close a game by finding themselves and their teams on the winning side.

While ‘Player of the Match’ awards often showcases an individual’s ability of swaying an entire game in their team’s favour, such exceptionalities become even bigger if performed at a stage as grand as an Asia Cup contest.

Ahead of the much-awaited 2023 Asia Cup, here at OneCricket, we look back at five such players who have bagged the most number of ‘Man of the Match’ awards throughout tournament’s ODI tapestry.

Sanath Jayasuriya (5) 

image-llk060k0Sanath Jayasuriya was one of the most destructive openers (Twitter)

Unarguably Asia Cup’s greatest cricketer, Sanath Jayasuriya bagged five ‘Player of the Match’ awards throughout his tournament journey. Launching his expedition at the 1990 competition as a 21-year-old, the batting marauder participated in six Asia Cup events, and engineered Sri Lanka’s title wins in three of them. As a batsman, he bludgeoned 1,220 runs to lead the all-time run-scoring charts, and snared 22 wickets to retire as one of the competition’s most successful bowlers to date.

Jayasuriya earned his first top-performing award in his side’s 1995 must-win clash against Pakistan, where he scored 30 and nabbed a wicket with his part-time spin. The Matara Mauler bagged one award each in the subsequent four events, before he made his exit from the game as Asia Cup’s most illustrious player.

Kumar Sangakkara (4)

image-llk05ezwKumar Sangakkara in 2014 Asia Cup (Twitter)

Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara participated in five Asia Cups in a space of 10 years (2004-2014), and emerged as a champion in three of them. Making his tournament debut in 2004, the elegant left-hander won two ‘Player of the Match’ awards in 2008, and two more in his side’s triumphant run in 2014.

As a batter, Sangakkara retired with second most runs to his name behind his own longtime teammate Sanath Jayasuriya, minting 1,075 of them across 24 matches at an average of 48.86. He is also Asia Cup’s joint successful wicketkeeper of all time, alongside MS Dhoni, with 36 dismissals to his name.

Shahid Afridi (4)

image-llk01as6Shahid Afridi after scoring a century against Sri Lanka (Twitter)

With four ‘Man of the Match’ awards but just two titles across 17 years, Shahid Afridi is easily Asia Cup’s biggest perennial underachiever. The legendary Pakistani all-rounder made his debut in 1997, and played an influential role in his country’s first-ever title win three years later in Bangladesh.

However, he came to his own in 2010 in Sri Lanka. Captaining Pakistan, the cricketer assumed leadership responsibility with utmost devotion as he bagged two ‘Player of the Match’ performances in a tournament where his side failed to reach the finals. The all-rounder made up for his fruitless endeavours the following edition in Bangladesh, where he won the award in his team’s victory against hosts in the title clash.

Claiming one more MVP title in 2014, Afridi eventually made his exit from Asia Cup’s ODI segment with 532 runs and 14 wickets from 23 appearances.

Shoaib Malik (4)

image-llk021q9Shoaib Malik in the 2008 Asia Cup (Twitter)

Four ‘Player of the Match’ awards aside, Shoaib Malik is also Pakistan’s leading run-scorer in Asia Cup history. In all, he registered 786 runs at 65.50 to hold the best average among all batters with more than 600 runs to their name. He also picked up 12 wickets with his handy off-breaks.

Notably, Malik won two of those awards in 2004, an event where he also finished as its leading run-scorer. The all-rounder, in one of his final Asia Cup appearances for Pakistan, won another in 2018 to secure a thrilling run-chase for his team against Afghanistan.

Marvan Attapattu (3)

image-llk02r6mMarvan Attapattu during 2004 Asia Cup (Twitter)

Taking guard at the crease just 12 times for Sri Lanka between 1997 and 2004 Asia Cups, legendary Marvan Attapattu churned out ‘Man of the Match’ innings in three of them. Moreover, his signature was marked all over Sri Lanka’s 1997 win, where he became the MVP of his side’s opening victory over Pakistan and in a tense final against India.

The cricketer produced another game changing performance at the 2004 final against the same opponents, thus bringing a fitting end to his Asia Cup career.

Most ‘Player of the Match’ Awards, Top 5 List:

Number of MOTMs
Sanath Jayasuriya 5
Kumar Sangakkara 4
Shahid Afridi 4
Shoaib Malik 4
Marvan Attapattu 3