Upul Tharanga and Mahela Jayewardene opened the batting for Sri Lanka. The run carnage against a hapless Bangladesh bowling attack dew or no dew was a delight. It was raining boundaries, as both batsmen toyed with the hosts bowling. The run feast was so exquisite; anyone watching would have seen a full range of strokes in one package.
Mahela like I made mention in my morning script, got back to form in no time .Both Tharanga and Jayewardene found life so easy, that the opposition had no answer. Shakib Al Hassan the Bangladeshi skipper by the 17th over had used as many as 7 bowlers, all being carted around with the minimum of effort.
The Bangladeshi captain to stop the flow of runs held back the bowling power play but the result was the same. By the 25th over without the bowling power play the visitors were 159 for no loss in comparison to the home teams 115 for 3, which included the bowling power play.
There were hardly any no slog shots, but pure cricketing strokes that was sweetly timed off the middle of the bat, singles nudged into gaps with soft hands, wristy flicks, cover drives check drives and improvised strokes by opening the face of the bat and running the ball down to third man boundary with perfect precision.
This was the order of the innings by both Upul and Mahela. The batting was very professional and the Bangladeshis who had a great one day wins against Zimbabwe and a second string West Indian outfit. Playing quality teams like India and Sri Lanka is altogether a different proposition.
Jayewardene reached his 12th one day hundred and his first against the hosts; he was dismissed at last for 108 much to the delight of the hungry Bangladeshis. The first wicket partnership of 215 is Sri Lanka’s 6th double hundred stand. Incidentally Tharanga was involved in all six. Jayewardene faced 117 balls and executed 13 boundaries in what could be termed as a master craft.
Tharanga reached his 7th ODI hundred facing 116 balls and executing 15 classy hits to the ropes. Sri Lanka reached the target in the 45th over by 9 wickets Tharanga remained UN beaten on 118 and Skipper Sangakkara on 17.
A comprehensive win, Sri Lanka qualify for the finals. Sri Lanka will play India on Sunday. Bangladesh to qualify for the finals will be a hard task. They will have to beat India on Monday that too with a bonus point and hope for a Sri Lankan win this Sunday against the Indians.
BANGLADESH 249 FOR 9 WICKETS IN 50 OVERS
SRI LANKA 252 FOR 1 WICKET 42.4 OVERS
UPUL THARANGA 118 NOT OUT
MAHELA JAYEWARDENA 108
Bangladesh named a UN changed side for today’s do or die encounter against table leaders Sri Lanka. The visitors made four changers, by resting Welegedera and Suranga Lakmal, from the seam department, strengthend their batting with Mahela Jayawardena, brought in variety by including Malinga Bandara the leg spinner and kept faith in senior pro Nuwan Kulasekera to head the seam attack, alongside Thilan Thushara.
No surprises with Sangakkaras ’predictable decision to bowl first after calling correct. Tamim Iqbal and Imran Kayes had no terrors on a placid pitch when facing up to both Kulasekera and Thushara. Kulasekera looked more effective, but his new ball partner disappointing to state the least. Thushara gave too much width and was guilty of not bowling in the right areas.
The Bangladeshi openers made good use of the loose deliveries to reach 44 at the end of the 7th over. Sangakkara introduced spin in the 8th, and Randiv obliged his skipper when he had the inform Tamim Iqbal Lbw in his 3rd delivery, guilty of playing across line. Tamim will be disappointed that he made only 21, on a belter of a pitch.
Mohamed Asraful joined Kayes and the pair did well to rotate the strike and pushed the score along to 73. Sri Lanka stuck with a direct hit by running Ashraful out for 13.
Sri Lankan bowlers did well in shortening the length thereby forcing the batsman to improvise; by doing this the boundaries were controlled. Bangladeshi batsman showed signs of impatiens with boundaries drying up. Imran Kayes seeing it well on 42, missed a flick shot off Thisara Perera and was adjudicated LBW by umpire Simon Taufel with the hosts on 88.
Shakib AL Hassan and Raqibul Hassan had to put their heads down and rebuild an innings, to set Sri Lanka a decent target. The spinners namely Suraj Randiv and Malinga Bandara bowled exceptionally well. Thisara Perera chipped in with an excellent spell to keep a close check on both batsmen from breaking loose.
Raqibul who was dropped on 7 by Mahela Jayewardene made a slow 43 and was involved in a valuable partnership of 77 runs with his captain. Sri Lankans frustrated him and he played into their hands by forcing a delivery from back of a length from Perera only to be caught by Randiv with Bangladesh on 165
Bandara meanwhile grew in confidence, bowled his variety of top spinners, googlys, and sliders. He went wicket less but did the containing job with figures of 10-0-44-0.
Surprisingly Sangakkara after keeping the hosts relatively quite turned to Samaraweera to bowl him the 41st over which was plundered for 17 valuable runs, with Musfiqur Rahim plundering two big sixes.
Bangladesh took the batting Power play in the 43rd over. Thilna Thushara started proceedings by bowling over number one. In the very first ball he got his first wicket having Shakib Al Hassan caught by Tharanga at deep mid wicket for 47 with the hosts on 199. Thushara gave 11 runs in his over and the home team to 210 for 5.
Power Play two was spin with suraj Randiv. The classy off spinner stuck gold when he beat Rahim in the air by having him caught by Bandara at deep extra cover for 32; however the Bangladeshis took 8 off Randivs’ over to be 218 for 8 at the end of the 44th.
Kulasekera was introduced for the 3rd power play over, after conceding a boundary off an outside edge, he yorked Nazeem Islam for 5, with the home team on 223 for 7. Kulasekera gave 7 runs, but most importantly he dismissed the 3rd Bangladeshi batsman in the power play overs.
Suraj Randiv bowling the 4th power play saw a run out in this over, Razzak the victim for1. Four wickets fell in four power play overs and that’s not good reading for the hosts. Randiv only conceded 2 runs in this over, to end his spell on a high 10-1-40-2
Kulasekera bowled the final power play over with Bangladesh on 227 for 8. Rubel Hussain going for a pull shot simply gave Sangakkara the simplest of catches to give the hosts their 5th wicket during the power play and the home team in trouble on 231 for 9.
The Bangladeshis had a very poor run during the bating power play losing 5 wickets for 32 runs. Bangladesh in their allotted fifty overs made 249 for 9 wickets. Thisara Perera who bowled the final over and that too the big hitter Muhamadullah taking him on, conceded only 2 runs and this performance is commendable. Perera had an outstanding spell.10-0-32-2
MAIN SCORE CARD.
Bangladesh 249 for 9 wickets in 50 overs.
SHAKIB AL HASSAN 47
RAQIBUL HASSAN 43
IMRAN KAYES 42
MUSFIQUR RAHIM 32
THISARA PERERA 10-0-32-2
SURAJ RANDIV 10-1-40-2
NUWAN KULASEKERA 10-1-48-2
THILAN THUSHARA 10-0-67-2