|ICC T20 Men’s World Cup, Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah|
|Bangladesh 171-4 (20 overs): Mushfiqur 57 * (37), Naim 62 (52); C Karunaratne 1-12|
|Sri Lanka 172-5 (18.5 overs): Asalanka 80 * (49), Raj -aksa 53 (31); Nasum 2-29|
|Sri Lanka wins with five wickets|
Sri Lanka has put in a jaw-dropping chase to beat Bangladesh by five wickets in their first T20 World Cup Super 12s match.
In the hunt for 172, Sri Lanka slipped to 79-4 before Charith Asalanka took the lead with 80 unbeaten and Bhanuka Raj -aksa an aggressive 53 of 31 balls.
Their 86-person booth helped Sri Lanka win in front of a lively crowd in Sharjah.
Bangladesh had previously posted 171-4 of its 20 overs.
After two unsuccessful games in front of half-full stands, this was the game that brought the tournament to life.
Mushfiqur Rahims 67 and 62 by Mohammad Naim had helped Bangladesh raise an impressive sum.
But Asalanka, who came 2-1 with his side, played aggressively from the start while Raj -aksa’s big stroke affected things in Sri Lanka.
Both players were dropped by Liton Das when Bangladesh stalled and Sri Lanka won by seven balls ahead of the game.
There was some tension as Lahiru Kumara had a heated exchange with Liton after declining to kick off in Bangladesh. Several players became involved in the confrontation before the referees intervened.
But that was a side note to the brilliant 73-run grandstand between Naim and Mushfiqur that wowed the full stadium.
Naim anchored the innings while Mushfiqur struck and slogged two sixes to increase the run rate. While Naim fell and was caught by a top edge shortly after his half-century, Mushfiqur continued to accelerate, taking his own 50 balls out of 32.
Bangladesh’s overall result always felt imposing and when Kusal Perera fell in the first over of Sri Lanka’s response and bowled by Nasum Ahmed after a missed sweep, it looked like the game could be over soon.
However, Asalanka played brilliantly, hitting two sixes in three balls and targeting the Bangladeshi weirdos as Sri Lanka advanced to 7-1.
Two wickets in three balls for Shakib controlled Sri Lanka’s swing – and delighted the crowd – but Raj -aksa was the ideal foil for Asalanka.
Raj -aksa was dropped to 14 by Liton on the borderline, but it was Asalanka’s drop to 63 that proved crucial.
Bangladesh will face England on Wednesday and Sri Lanka will face Australia on Thursday.
What they said:
Sri Lanka’s C -tain Dasun Shanaka: “It’s really important to win the first game of the tournament and they did really well. It’s very important that the youngsters get promoted at the right time.
“It wasn’t the easiest target to pursue, but smaller boundaries where the batsmen can hit six is any target to pursue.”
Bangladesh’s C -tain Mahmudullah: “I think our batter did a great job. Naim gave us a very good start and played a brilliant innings.
“I thought we could probably defend 170. We were in the game until Matchday 10 but I think we lost a few chances.”
Player of the game Charith Asalanka: “I’m very h -py right now. When I saw the first ball it looked like a really good place. I said we should play our natural game and play our cricket shots.”
About Raj -aksa: “He was actually the game changer. He changed the swing and he played wonderful shots and changed the game with me.”