With terrific batting from Charith Asalanka (80*) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (53), Sri Lanka defeated Bangladesh by 5 wickets in their first Super 12s fixture of T20 World Cup 2021 in Sharjah.
Bangladesh looked shell shocked as the young Sri Lankans were involved in a master class in T 20 batting, playing standard cricketing shots, technically sound and well calculated as they chased down the target without a problem.
Sri Lanka chasing 172 for victory started in disastrous fashion losing their most experienced batsman Kusal Janith clean bowled, Charith Asalanka who came in one down played one of the best knocks seen in T20 for Sri Lanka in recent times with a fantastic innings scoring close to 2 runs a balls through out his innings reaching his fifty in 32 balls. He remained unbeaten on 80*scored in 49 balls with 5 fours and five towering sixes.
Asalanka and Rajapaksa added 76 runs for the fifth wicket after Sri Lanka were reduced 79/4 in the 10th over of the match. Earlier, Asalanka stitched for a 69-run partnership with opener Pathum Nissanka (24) but later Shakib Al Hasan struck twice in an over to put pressure back on Sri Lanka.
There was a slight stutter as three wickets fell in close succession with Pathum Nissnaka, Avishka Fernando and the Wanidu Hasaranaga making the target look larger than it was. From 71 for 1 Sri Lanka slumped to 79 for 4.
The Birthday boy Bhanuka Rajapakse who joined Asalanka then played a fantastic knock himself, scoring regular boundaries and scoring sixes, and reaching a fifty in 28 balls.
Liton Das who was involved in a verbal tussle with Lahiru Kumara dropped two catches that cost Bangladesh dearly.
Earlier Bangladesh put up 171 runs while batting first with the fifties from opener Mohammad Naim (62) and Mushfiqur Rahim (57) who also shared a 73-run partnership for the third wicket. For Sri Lanka Chamika Karunaratne, Binuara Fernando and Lahiru Kumara got one wicket each.
Dasun Shanaka: It was not the easiest targets to chase but once batsmen are set, any target can be chased. It was an outstanding innings from Asalanka. It’s very important that youngsters step up at this stage, it was really nice to see that.
Mahmudullah: I thought 171 could be defended. Liton and Naim gave us a very good start. Naim held the innings. Mushfiq played a brilliant innings. We were in the game till the tenth over. But things went wrong for us after that. We will correct that in the next game. We watched the IPL games and thought an extra spinner would help. The spinners bowled well but we missed a couple of chances. This game will boost up our batting unit and we are looking forward to the next game.
Charith Asalanka is the Player of the Match: It’s happy to score a winning knock for my country. I am very happy right now. My friends back home will be very happy right now, they always back. When I faced the first ball, it looked like a good pitch and I backed myself to play my natural game. Rajapaksa played a brilliant knock and he changed the momentum. I want to keep it up and look forward to do the same for my country in the upcoming games.