Chasing 161 for victory, Bangladesh won by 2 wickets with one ball to spare in a nail biting finish with M. Mahamudullah striking a six off Isuru Udana in the decising match of the Hero Nidahas Triangular T20 Tournament at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Friday. Needing 12 off the last over bowled by Isuru Udana A boundary and two reduced the deficit to 6 off 2 before Mahamudullah dealt a six in the penultimate ball. He was on 43. Sri Lanka made 160 off 20 overs. With this win Bangladesh will meet India in the final on Sunday.
Akila Dananjaya operating with the new ball struck in the fourth ball of the second over for Sri Lanka removing Liton Das for a duck caught by Thisara Perera in the covers with the total on 11. After 2 overs Bangladesh was 19 for 1 as the Lankan captain opted for an all spin attack introducing Amila Aponso to bowl the third over. Bangladesh Just past the halfway mark Bangladesh lost Mushfiqur Rahim for 28 making it 95 for 3 after 12.3 overs. The bowler was Amila Aponso who had him caught behind by Kusal Janith. Tamim Iqbal was on 47 38 (2×4, 2×6). Sri Lanka struck again sending back Iqbal with Dhanushka Gunathilaka having him caught by the stumper for 50 off 42,4×4, 2×6). 105 for 4 off 14. Sri Lanka struck again in the fifth ball of the 15th over through Jeevan Mendis who accounted for Soumya Sarkar for 10 and Bangladesh had slipped to 109 for 5 off 14.5 overs. Two more runs, and after 15 overs Bangladesh needed exactly 50 off 5 overs. After 16,120 for 5 and the 17th over yielded 11 including a six off Mendis that proved to be costly with Bangladesh closing on the deficit at 131 for 5.
The 18th over by Isuru Udana was fruitful to Sri Lanka as the medium paceman sent back Shakib Al Hasan caught off the last ball of his second over for 7 reducing Bangladesh to 137 for 6 in 18. It was a very tight over costing just 6. The 19th over by Thisara Perera yielded saw Mehidy Hasan Miraz run out to a fine direct hit by Dasun Shanaka and Bangladesh were 148 for 7 after 19 over. With 12 off the last over it was touch and go. The final over by Isuru Udana was very eventful with Mutafizur Rahman surviving a first ball caught behind and running himself out very next ball the total reading 148 for 8 off 19.2 and not a run scored. With 2 more taken in two balls; A boundary and two reduced the deficit to 6 off 2 before Mahamudullah dealt a six in the penultimate ball.
With the total on 11 off the fourth ball of the second over.
Bangladesh lost their second wicket at 33 in 3.5 overs that of Sabbir Rahman stumped by Kusal Janith Perera for 13 to the fifth delivery by Dananjaya and after 4 overs the total read 34 for 2. Tamim Iqbal was on 19 off 12 with 3 boundaries. After the power play six overs Bangladesh was 50 for 2 with Iqbal shfiqur Rahim on 12.
Sri Lanka recovered from a shaky 41 for 5 wickets to post 159 for 7 thanks to a rearguard 97-run sixth wicket alliance between the two Pereras. Kusal Janith struck a 40-ball 61 slamming 7 boundaries and a six and Thisara stroked 58 off 37 inclusive of 3 boundaries and 3 sixes sharing in a 97-run sixth wicket alliance off 61 balls.
Sri Lanka took three runs – a single each by Dhanushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis, the other a wide off the first over with Shakib Al Hassan back in command operating with the new ball. Mendis set the run momentum with successive boundaries off Rubel Hossain taking the total to 15 at the end of the second over. But Bangladesh struck in the first ball of the third over with Gunathilaka mistiming an on drive over the Hasan’s head to be caught by Sabbir Rahman at long on with no addition to the total. Kusal Janith got off the mark with a single with Mendis following suit before Kusal Janith slammed Hasan for a boundary to make it 21 for 1 after 3 overs. Bangladesh claimed the prize wicket of Mendis off the last ball of the fourth over caught at mid-wicket by Soumya Sarkar off Mustafizur Rahman reducing Sri Lanka to 22 for 2. He made 11. Upul Tharanga took a boundary off Mehidy Hasan Miraz taking the total to 29 for2 after 5 overs. The third wicket fell with Tharanga running himself out in the second ball of the sixth over for 8 having taken off for a single and turned back; 31 for 3. Sri Lanka was in deep trouble when Dasun Shanaka was out for a first ball duck caught behind by Mushfiqur Rahim off Rahman. After the power play six overs it was 32 for 4.
Jeevan Mendis, sent in at No.6, was caught two overs later by Mustafizur Rahman off Miraz for 3 reducing Sri Lanka to 41 for 5 in 8.1 overs. After the 10-over halfway mark Sri Lanka was on 53 for 5 against tight bowling and fielding by Bangladesh. After 12 over that was lean going for the hosts Kusal Janith revived the innings sweeping Mustafizur Rahman for six and hammered the next ball for 4 to reach the 1000-run milestone in T20 cricket. He rotated the strike as Thisara Perera hammered a boundary and at the end of 13 overs that yielded 18 runs Sri Lanka was 86 for 5. At that stage Kusal Janith was on 42 off 26 having hit 4 boundaries and a six. Skipper Thisara Perera was on 15 off 16 with a boundary. After 14 overs Sri Lanka was on 90 for 5 with the sixth wicket alliance realizing 49 runs. Soon after Kusal Janith smashed Sharkar for 4 to reach 49 and followed with a single to reach 50 off 32 with 6 boundaries and a six. The Perera duo 50-run partnership came in 36 balls. After 15 overs Sri Lanka had recovered to 99 for 5. Kusal Janith brought up the Sri Lankan hundred wiith 2 off Mahmuudullah and proceeded to thump the next ball for four to make it 105 for 5 in 15.3 overs. After 16 it was 110 for 5. W it was Thisara’s turn as he lambasted Rahman for consecutive sixes and a single to take the total to 125 off 16 overs. The pair had posted 86 off 53 balls and 8.5 overs by then staging a Sri Lankan recovery.
At 137 for 5 off 18 overs was Kusal Janith on 69 off 39 containing 7 boundaries and a six with Thisara Perera was on 45 off 30 balls with 2 boundaries and 2 sixes apiece. Bangladesh claimed the wicket of Kusal Janith caught in the deep by Mehidy Hasan without adding. The sixth wicket alliance yielded an invaluable 97 off 61 balls. Soon after Thisra Parera brought up his maiden 50 in T20 internationals with a six off Hossain. His 50 came off 33 balls (2×2, 3×6); Sri Lanka 143 for 6 off 18.3 with new batsman Isuru Udana in company. Thisara Perera continued to ride bravely bringing up the Lankan 150 at the end of the 19th over. He was on 53. Udana got off the mark taking 3 off Sarkar for Perera to smite a boundary but exited in the second ball of the 19th over for 58 off 37 balls packed with 3 boundaries and 3 sixes. Sri Lanka ended on 159 for 7 after 20. Udana was on 4 and Dananjaya 1. Mustafizur Rahman claimed 2 for 39 off 4 overs on a day Bangladesh’s frontline bowlers kept a tight rein on the Lankan batting.
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-