Shehan Madushanka completed a dream debut, claiming the final 3 wickets to fall as Sri Lanka registered a 79-run win against hosts Bangladesh in Mirpur in the final of the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka-Zimbabwe tri-series.
Bangladesh’s chase was hampered even before a ball was bowled in their innings as Shakib Al-Hasan dislocated his little finger in the field and his ability to come out to bat was put in doubt. However, with just 222 to win, the hosts would have fancied their chances against an inexperienced Sri Lankan bowling line-up.
Dushmantha Chameera and Suranga Lakmal got Sri Lanka off to an excellent start, keeping Tamim Iqbal, in particular, quiet in the 1st powerplay. The short ball strategy to Tamim worked once again, as Chameera had him skying a pull shot in the 6th over.
With Tamim back in the hut and Shakib unable to come out to bat, the pressure began to tell on the Bangladeshi batsmen, with Mohammed Mithun and Sabbir Rahman unable to get much away. Both were dismissed in quick succession as Bangladesh slumped to 22/3 in the 9th over.
This brought together Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad, who then began to rebuild with a 58-run stand in quick time. A quick pep talk by skipper Dinesh Chandimal seemed to do the trick for the Sri Lankans as Akila Dananjaya struck to remove Rahim for 22 soon after the drinks break. The wicketkeeper had earlier survived a LBW call on review but fell playing the sweep in the very next over.
Sri Lanka registered a 10-wicket victory over hosts Bangladesh to romp into the Tri-series final in Mirpur.
With Rahim gone, the game looked to slip away from Bangladesh but Mahmudullah kept fighting and with such a small score to defend, Sri Lanka were never sure of the win until the last wicket was taken.
Chandimal made the bold move of bringing the debutant Shehan Madushanka back into the attack in the 38th over, with Bangladesh needing 93 to win. Madushanka was calm under pressure picking up Mortaza and Rubel Hossain in his next over and then finishing things off in style with Mahmudullah’s wicket with the 1st ball of the 42nd over to cap a memorable debut and give Sri Lanka a win to cherish.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka had scraped through to what was a par total after a half century from Upul Tharanga and valuable 40s from Niroshan Dickwella and Dinesh Chandimal.
Sri Lanka started things off with a bang as Danushka Gunathilake looked to attack Mehidy Hasan. However, the off spinner had the last laugh as he had him caught at deep mid off for 6. Kusal Mendis scored a frenetic 28 in just 9 deliveries including 2 fours and 3 sixes but threw it away as he too tried to clear the in-field once too often.
Sri Lanka made 60 in the 1st 10 overs but things slowed down considerably from that point as the wicket got slower and some uneven bounce kept the batsmen guessing.
Tharanga put on 71 alongside Dickwella and a further 45 with Chandimal but it was Akila Dananjaya who put some impetus into the batting at the end of the innings to score 17 off 16 and give Sri Lanka a competitive target.