Kusal Perera’s 53-ball 77 helped Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by six wickets in the first of two Twenty20 Internationals at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Tuesday (April 4), taking the home side past the 156-run target with seven balls in hand.
At the toss, Mashrafe Mortaza, the Bangladesh captain, announced that he would be retiring from the shortest format of the game at the end of the series, catching a large section of the cricket community by surprise.
Mortaza won the toss, but just as the national anthems got over, the heavens opened up and the rain that had been expected all day came down. Though the initial burst looked to wash out the contest completely, it quickly receded without forcing any trimming of the number of overs.
Lasith Malinga struck off the second ball of the Bangladesh innings, knocking out Tamim Iqbal’s stumps to send him back for a duck. Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman picked up the threads, taking their side to 57 for 1 in five overs, before Sabbir was run out for 16. Sarkar fell four balls later, caught by Thisara Perera off Vikum Sanjaya, to leave two new batsmen – Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan – in the middle.
Rahim and Shakib failed to make an impact, but Mosaddek Hossain’s unbeaten 34 in 30 balls and a late 26-ball 31 from Mahmudullah took Bangladesh to a respectable 155 for 6, even though it seemed too low for the conditions.
Malinga went past Mahmudullah’s defences in the 19th over to pick up his 86th T20I wicket, becoming the second highest wicket-taker in T20Is, only behind Shahid Afridi, who leads the list with 97 scalps. With 85 wickets each, Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal, Afridi’s compatriots, are now in third place.
Sri Lanka’s chase got off to a brisk start, with Kusal and Upul Tharanga (24) taking it to 65 without loss by the seventh over. Though Mortaza got rid of Tharanga and Dilshan Munaweera in quick succession, and Asela Gunaratne fell for 17, the initial platform was enough for Sri Lanka to go over the line without any flutters.
Kusal hit nine boundaries and a six during his knock, and was dismissed in the 19th over with the end in sight, and Seekkuge Prasanna’s unbeaten 12-ball 22 helped Sri Lanka to clinch victory with lots to spare.
The second and final contest will be place at the same venue on Thursday.