Sri Lanka sneaked past Bangladesh by two wickets to seal a Super Four spot in the Asia Cup at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on Thursday. The loss sent Bangladesh out of the tournament.
Chasing 184, Sri Lanka required 34 runs off the last three overs. Bangladesh pacer Ebadot Hossain, making his T20I debut, conceded 17 runs in the 19th over to let the advantage slip.
After being put into bat, Bangladesh rode on handy knocks from Mehidy Hasan (38, 26b, 2×4, 2×6), Afif Hossain (39, 22b, 4×4, 2×6) and Mosaddek Hossain (24 n.o., 9b, 4×4) to post 183 for seven against Sri Lanka in a Asia Cup Group ‘B’ clash at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Hossain came alive in the final over, bowled by Asitha Fernando, hitting the pacer for a six and two fours. The Bangladesh batters used any pace on offer to play the paddle scoop. The Sri Lankans erred by keeping fine leg inside the circle and spraying it down the leg.
Spinner Maheesh Theekshana, brought into the attack in the second over, was the pick of the bowlers. Theekshana’s spin and pace variations presented a puzzle, one which the Bangladesh batters struggled to solve. He cleaned up captain Shakib Al Hasan, who made room for an inside-out hit but missed the ball completely.
Fellow spinner Wanindu Hasaranga picked up two wickets but proved to be expensive. Fast bowler Fernando, making his T20I debut, went for 51 runs in his four overs.
En route the challenging target of 184, the Sri Lankan chase was alive and kicking throughout the chase, despite some minor and major hiccups all the way through to the last Over, and equally aided by some indisciplined bowling by the Bangladeshi bowlers.
The platform was perfectly laid by the opening pair of Pathum Nissanka (20 off 19) and Kusal Mendis (60 off 37), with the latter batting all the way through to the 15th Over, taking full advantage of the reprieves he got at the score of 29 and 44.
Mendis was equally complimented by skipper Dasun Shanaka (45 off 33), as the duo brought up their half-century stand in mere 31 deliveries, to take their side closer to the target.
Ultimately, with 12 runs required off the last seven deliveries, debutant Asitha Fernando (10* off 3), who was the most expensive Sri Lanka bowler on the day, smashed back-to-back boundaries, to seal the highest-ever T20I run-chase in the UAE, with four balls to spare.