Asalanka, Rajapaksa turned the game in Sri Lanka's favour and earned two crucial points
Sri Lanka 172 for 5 (Asalanka 80*,Rajapaksa 53, Shakib 17/2) beat Bangladesh 171 for 4 (Naim 62, Mushfiqur 57*, Karunaratne 12/1) by five wickets.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh clashed heads in the third match of the Super 12 round at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Sri Lanka reached Super 12 by winning all three games in the first round, while Bangladesh could manage to reach Super 12 by defeating Oman and Papua New Guinea after an unexpected loss against Scotland in their first match in ICC T20 World Cup 2021.
Bangladesh off to decent start
Bangladesh openers Liton Das and Mohammad Naim played well in powerplay overs to give a stable start to their side. They struck occasional boundaries against Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara. In the sixth over bowled by Kumara, Das was caught by Shanaka at mid-off on 16.
Former skipper of Bangladesh, Shakib Al Hasan came in the middle and started wielding his bat like a weapon from the first ball. He slashed two fours in the seventh over bowled by Charith Asalanka while his partner Naim also scored a four in the same over. However, Shakib got bowled on just 10 due to an inside edge while playing a pull shot against Chamika Karunaratne.
Mohammad Naim, Mushfiqur Rahim score fifties
At the other end, Naim completed his fifty off 44 balls by hitting a boundary against Kumara. Mushfiqur Rahim smashed two boundaries off Wanindu Hasaranga. Mushfiqur and Naim added 73 off 51 deliveries for the third wicket.
Binura Fernando caught and bowled Naim on 62. Bangladesh promoted Afif Hossain to score some quick runs in death overs but he got run-out by seamer Kumara on 7. Mushfiqur continued to gather boundaries to reach his fifty in just 32 balls with the help of four boundaries and two boundaries.
Mushfiqur and skipper Mahmudullah helped their side reach a huge score of 171 in 20 overs with elegant stroke play in death overs. Mushfiqur remained unbeaten on 57 off 37 deliveries.
Charith Asalanka’s onslaught provides blazing start to Sri Lanka
Bangladesh Mahmudullah brought left-arm spinner, Nasum Ahmed to bowl the first over of the second innings. He didn’t disappoint his skipper and bagged the wicket of opener Kusal Perera immediately.
One down batter Charith Asalanka played elegant strokes from the start of the innings. He smoked two eye-catching sixes off spinner Ahmed. His partner Pathum Nissanka also started to send balls over the boundary ropes. First, he smashed an attractive slog-sweep to get a boundary, then he walked down the wicket to strike a maximum over long on. His partner Asalanka smashed two boundaries to left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman.
Shakib punctured top order of Sri Lanka
Left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan put a break on the batting assault on show by Sri Lanka batters as he bowled out two batters in one over. First, Nissanka missed the ball while playing slog-sweep to lose his stumps whereas Avishka Fernando missed a dipping full ball which crashed into stumps.
Sri Lanka promoted Hasaranga as a pinch hitter but he failed to make much impact as Naim caught him at deep mid-wicket.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s blitz and Asalanka’s phenomenal display of batting help Sri Lanka to the target
The next batter, Bhanuka Rajapaksa took his time and smashed Afif Hossain for a calculated six over the short boundary over extra cover. Liton Das dropped a catch of Rajapaksa and conceded a four.
On the other end, Asalanka hammered two elephantine sixes after completing his maiden T20I fifty in just 32 balls.
Liton dropped another catch, this time of Asalanka on 64. Rajapaksa helped Sri Lanka reach close to the target by smashing two more mammoth sixes off Mohammad Saifuddin, also, he pummelled two more boundaries to collect a total of 22 runs in the over.
As Sri Lanka reached close to the target, Bangladesh skipper Mahmuddullah brought their ace spinner Shakib to bowl.
Asalanka stepped out to smash a towering six to long-off against Shakib. His partner Rajapaksa reached his fifty in just 28 balls on his 30th birthday. He lost his wicket on the verge of a win, however, Asalanka won the match for Sri Lanka with a boundary to fine third man.
Asalanka remained unbeaten on 80 off just 49 deliveries, comprising five fours and five mighty sixes.
What Lies Ahead
Winning side, Sri Lanka will face Australia on coming Thursday whereas losing side, Bangladesh will be at odds with England on coming Wednesday.
India are playing Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in the fourth match of the Super 12 round as this article hits the stands.
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