The luck of the coin does matter in limited overs cricket, and that Bangladesh optimized the discretion of batting first by a bizarre 71-run posting by Soumya Sarkar and Imrul Kayes was a calamity that Sri Lanka was never able to weather at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Thursday’s day night. The 45-run win gave the touring team a 1-all clean slate of a drawn series in all three forms of the game, but fell short of their campaign of denting Sri Lanka’s unblemished record of claiming a series win in either the Test, ODI or T20 series. In the final T20 decider one had to hand it to Bangladesh in unleashing a batting salvo. The run rioting Sarkar whose 4-boundary and 2-sixer studded 34-run scorcher in just 17 balls, and Imrul Kayes’ 4-boundaries and six off 17 balls was blistering stuff and even the slinger Malinga could only play a passive role. Of course, the slinger did have that characteristically extraordinary producing element in his sleeve in the tail-end of Bangladesh’s innings for a record fourth limited overs hat-trick.
Eventually, Bangladesh’s 176 for 9 proved too much, the backbone of the batting having caved in at 40 for 5 in 5.2 overs. Chamara Kapugedera, promoted in the batting to No.4 did make a heartening 35-ball 50 filled with 5 boundaries and a six that was the closest semblance of fireworks Sri Lanka could reply with to the carnage rained in by Bangladesh. It was so on a personal note for the Sri Lankan. For, he is one who was once spoken as an Aravinda in the making on his arrival on the big stage, but sadly faded away. The silverware of handsome stroke play that he brought with him had sadly eroded, and Kapugedera has since been a type of fits and starts player not coming to full measure. Of late he had made the odd 25-plus or so, and in that twilight to see Kapugedera play an innings of authority was indeed wholly gladdening from a Sri Lankan point of view. But Sri Lanka’s ploy of changing batting orders that has time and time again proved to be fatal to the careers of emerging batsmen such as Dinesh Chandimal, who however wriggled out of it, and sadly Lahiru Thirimanne, was at play again. Shakib Al Hasan was adjudged the ‘Man of the Match’ for his 38 and 3 wickets. But Sri Lanka’s indomitable record breaker Lasith Malinga had the black magic that would earn him the Man of the Series award.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-