Bangladesh recorded their highest T20 chase ever, the fourth overall, by knocking down a mountain-like target of 215 against Sri Lanka, to stay alive in the Nidahas tri-series. Benefitting from a combination of poor fielding as well as bowling, Bangladesh was led by its wicket-keeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim (72* off 35) and solid knocks from openers Tamim Iqbal (47 from 29 balls) and Liton Das (43 from 19 balls).
Batting first, Sri Lanka thrashed Bangladeshi bowling attack to post a massive 214/6 in 20 overs. The credit for the mammoth total goes to the top three of the Lankan batting order – Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera – along with Upul Tharanga. The quartet managed to maintain an upper hand over the Bangladeshis through the innings despite facing a couple of unprecedented setbacks during the middle order.
The intent seemed clear when Lankan openers Gunathilaka and Mendis began targeting the opening bowlers, Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman.The two added 56 for the first wicket before the Gunathilaka departed with 26 runs to his name, losing his wicket to Mustafizur Rahman.
The proceedings, however, didn’t slow down at all as the new man in – Kusal Perera – joined hands with Mendis and stretched the team total to 70 at the end of the power play. The duo went on to add 85 for the third wicket, further solidifying Lanka’s status in the game.
The second half of the game saw Bangladesh pull things back in their favour in dramatic. The turnaround came in the form of Mendis’ wicket in the 14th over. The back to back departures of Dasun Shanaka and Dinesh Chandimal brought the bowling side into the contest to a great extent but Upul Tharanga ensured that his team managed to cross the 200 run barrier with a sturdy knock of 32 which came off just 15 balls.
In response, the hosts were off to a solid start. Openers Amin Iqbal and Litton Das produced a better performance in the power play overs as compared to their Lankan counterparts and added 74 runs before as departed one ball short of the end of the powerplay.
Soumya Sarkar played a brief supporting role to Iqbal but the latter could not continue with the momentum and lost his wicket in the 10th over. The run rate was healthy at this moment but the loss of two set batsman pushed the batting side on the back foot.
Mushfiqur Rahim landed the final blows to knock Sri Lanka out of the match with Mahmudullah playing the role of the partner in crime for a short span of time with his knock of 20 runs off 11 deliveries.
The latter departed and so did following batsman Sabbir Rahman who was removed for a two-ball duck by Chameera.
Rahim, however, ensured that the hard work put in by the openers didn’t go waste at all and kept the offensive mode on. This proved to be fatal for the Lankans eventually.
The wicket-keeper batsman was adjudged the Man of the Match for his amazing effort. Speaking at the post-match conference he said, “We badly needed that win. Can’t ask much more than this. Gave away too many runs. 190 would have been chaseable. Liton and Tamim were outstanding to set it up. Dedicate this knock to my son, who’s only 35 days old. At the end of the day, the result is the most important thing. It was just a cramp. Hopefully, I will recover soon.”