Charith Asalanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa flay Bangladeshi attack with raining sixes to win by five wickets – by Sunil Thenabadu (eLanka Sports editor).
Sri Lanka 172 for 5 (Asalanka 80*, Rajapaksa 53, Shakib 2-17) beat Bangladesh 171 for 4 (Naim 62, Mushfiqur 57*) by five wickets with seven balls to spare
The first of the second phase clash between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Group 1 in the ICC WC T20 tournament was played as a day match in Sharjah in very hot conditions in front of many enthusiastic supporters of both countries. Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka having won the flip invited Bangladesh to bat first.The skipper of the Bangladesh Mahamudulla Reyal said that if he had won the toss they were to bat first,Sri Lanka and Bangladesh made one change each from the team that played in the final match in the Group stage matches.Sri Lanka rested the main destroyer Maheesh Theekshana as a precautionary measure for his side strain developed in the game against the Netherlands when he bowled only one over. He was replaced by another seamer Binura Fernando, the team management opting for another paceman instead of a spinner.
The Bangladeshi openers Linton Das and Mohamed Naim batted confidently adding 40 runs for the first wicket before the former was well caught at wide mid-off by the skipper off Lahiru Kumara., The best allrounder in world T 20 cricket Sakib Al Hasan was cleaned bowled by Chamika Karunarantne for only 10 runs. However experienced former skipper of the Bangladesh Mushfiqur Rahim a stalwart playing for nearly sixteen years joined Naim scoring freely showing aggression hoisting two sixes.The pair added 73 invaluable runs Rahim been the aggressor.Naim was caught and bowled by Binura Fernando trying to evade a rising ball for a well compiles 62 in 52 balls with six fours.Mushfiqur Rahim tried hard to accelerate was finally unbeaten on 57 in 37 balls with five fours and 2 sixes,At the end of the allotted 20 overs Bangladesh made a formidable 171 for 4 wickets which was presumed to be a winning score.
Paceman Chameera and spinner Hasaranga who were Srim Lanka’s main bowlers were wicketless giving away 41 and 29 runs in four and three overs respectively. The pick of the bowlers were Chamika Karunaratne and Lahiri Kumara capturing one wicket each with figure of 1 for 12 and 1 for 29 in three and four overs respectively.The former clean bowled the dangerous Shakib Al Hasan with a beautiful swinging delivery.
Chasing 172 runs to win disaster struck when Kusal Janith Perera was clean bowled by a novice left arm spinner Nasun Ahamed ,a debutante in the first over.Charith Asalanka also playing only his 5th T 20 match joined Pathum Nissanka also a relatively novice for T 20’s batted aggressively as a run rate of 8 runs per over was needed to win.Asalaka was the aggressor hoisting massive sixes to both sides of the wicket and straight.The duo added 69 runs for the second wicket before Nissanka trying for a six again was clean bowled by Shakib Al Hasan for 24 in 21balls with one six and a four.Then disaster struck when in the same over when the best batsmen Avishka Fernando was bowled off his pads for a duck to make it 3 for 71.Hasaranga sent in at No 5 after scoring just 4 runs tried to hoist Saifuddin a paceman was caught for just 6 runs when the ball struck the bottom of his bat.It was 4 for 79 defeat was on the cards. But the aggressive left handed Bhanuka Rajapaksa on his 31st birthday joined the flamboyant Asalaka, the pair batted aggressively hoisting sixes at ease maintaining the required run rate.The left handed duo added 86 in just 52 balls which was a treat to watch.Bhanuka Rajapaksa was bowled by the debutante left armer Nasum trying to accelerate.The target was achieved with seven balls to spare winning by five wickets .For Bangladesh Naum Ahamed and Shakib Al Hasan captured two wickets each giving away 29 and 17 runs respectively
Charmara Asalanka played a gem of an innings the commentators described playing strokes like Sanath Jayasuriya.Asalanka was unbeaten on 80 in only 49 balls with five fours and five massive sixes was named ‘Player of the Match”
For Bangladesh Naum Ahamed and Shakib Al Hasan captured two wickets each giving away 29 and 17 runs respectively