Asalanka, Rajapksa fifties help SL beat Tigers
Two crucial dropped catches by Liton Das and two explosive fifties from Sri Lanka batters Charith Asalanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa helped the Lankans take the game away from the Tigers' grasp and win by five wickets in the two sides' first Super 12 stage game of the ongoing T20 World Cup at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium today.
Asalanka's unbeaten 49-ball 80 and Rajapaksa's 53 off 31 saw Sri Lanka chase down Bangladesh's competitive total of 171 for four in 18.5 overs with five wickets to spare.
Bangladesh, however, looked in control of the game at one stage. Nasum Ahmed gave the Tigers their first breakthrough in the very first over of the game when he removed opener Kusal Perera and reduced Sri Lanka to two for one. Sri Lanka then staged an impressive comeback as Asalanka and Pathum Nissanka stitched together a 69-run second-wicket stand.
However, courtesy of Shakib Al Hasan's double strike in the ninth over and Saifuddin removing Wanindu Hasaranga in the following over, Bangladesh bounced back well and truly in the game with Sri Lanka at 79 for four after 9.4 overs. Shakib also became the leading wicket-taker in T20 World Cups when he ended the crucial stand between Asalanka and Nissanka by castling the stumps of the latter following a 21-ball 24. Shakib also shattered the stumps of Avishka Fernando in the same over.
But Bangladesh failed to exert pressure after that, with Rajapaksa and Asalanka taking the game away from the Tigers' grasp with an explosive 86-run fifth-wicket stand. Both Rajapaksa and Asalanka were spared by Liton. Rajapaksa, who struck three fours and as many maximums, was dropped on 12 by Liton in the 13th. Liton also dropped the most important catch of Asalanka on 63 in the 15th over.
Asalanka was the destroyer in chief, smashing five maximums and as many fours during his unbeaten carnage as Bangladesh eventually succumbed to their second defeat in this edition's marquee event.
For Bangladesh, Shakib was the most impressive with the ball, registering figures of two for 17 in his three overs.
Meanwhile, earlier, Mushfiqur Rahim ended his lean patch with the bat as his unbeaten 37-ball 57 and opener Mohammad Naim's 52-ball 62 helped Bangladesh to a competitive total.
Saifuddin, Shakib strikes bring Bangladesh back in game
[Wicket] Overs 9.4, SL 79/4: A slower ball from Mohammad Saifuddin gets the better of Wanindu Hasaranga, who skies a full length delivery towards midwicket. Mohammad Naim takes an easy catch and Sri Lanka lose three wickets in quick succession.
Shakib's double strike brings Bangladesh back in game
[Wicket] Overs 8.4, SL 71/3: Shakib gets another one in the over. This time he shatters the stumps of the new man Avishka Fernando. And all of a sudden, the two wickets seem to have shifted the momentum back towards the Tigers.
Shakib ends crucial stand to reach new milestone
[Wicket] Overs 8.1, SL 71/2: Shakib Al Hasan gave Bangladesh a crucial breakthrough as he ended an ominous 69-run second-wicket stand between Charith Asalanka and Pathum Nissanka when he castled the stumps of the latter with a ball that went in with the arm. With that wicket, Shakib also reached a new milestone as he surpassed former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi to become the leading wicket-taker in T20 World Cups. He now has 40 wickets in 29 T20 World Cup games.
Asalanka, Nissanka hit back after early blow
After 6 Overs, SL 54/1: Despite losing opener Kusal Perera in the very first over to left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed, Sri Lanka got off to a decent start. Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka hit back at the Bangladesh bowlers as Sri Lanka raced to 54 for one at the end of the powerplay. Asalanka in particular looked to be in the groove, striking wicket-taker Nasum for two sixes in the third over. He moved on to 32 off 18 deliveries while Nissanka, who struck Mahedi Hasan for a four and a six in the final over of the powerplay, scored 19 off 15 deliveries as Sri Lanka look well on course for chasing down Bangladesh's competitive total.
Nasum gives Tigers early breakthrough
[Wicket] 0.4 Overs, SL 2/1: Nasum Ahmed strikes in the very first over of his T20 World Cup debut. A flatter and quicker delivery from the left-arm spinner and Kusal Perera is taken by surprise as he fails to connect on his slog sweep. The ball goes on to hit the off-stump and Bangladesh get their first breakthrough. After posting a commendable 171 for four, Bangladesh now off to a brilliant start with the ball against Sri Lanka in their first match of the Super 12 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium today.