Fast bowling debutant Asitha Fernando turned out to be a batting hero striking 10 off 3 balls as Sr Lanka beat Bangladesh by 2 wickets with 4 balls to spare in a dramatic last over yesterday at the Dubai International Cricket StadiumIn a must win Group B match of the Asia Cup, Sri Lanka ended on 184 for 8 in reply to Bangladesh’s 183 for 7 with Asitha Fernando stroking 2 off the third ball of the last over bowled by Mahedi Hasan which was signalled a no-ball by by the TV umpire. Fernando’s decisive contribution as Sri Lanka fronted 13 for victory with 3 extras to the tally came in a nerve tingling ninth-wicket partnership with Maheesh Theekshana who went scoreless. It brought on the smiles in the hushed up Sri Lankan dressing room after Chamika Karunaratne had been run out for 16 with the score on 171.
Upfront opening batsman Kusal Mendis lent the fusion to the Lankan victory charge with a cameo 37-ball 60 filled with 3 sixes and 4 boundaries. He put on 45 for the first wicket with Pathum Nissanka who made 20 off 19. Sri Lanka however, had to scrape through anxious moments at the top as well having slithered to 4 for 77 before skipper Dasun Shanaka struck a flamboyant 45 off 33 in a decisive captain’s innings hitting 2 sixes and 3 boundaries in adding 54 off 34 deliveries for the fifth wicket.
Bangladesh, put into bat, did post a sizable total off 20 overs in the fifth match of the 15th edition of the tournament. Sri Lanka, playing hosts to Asia’s six-nation glitter, did certainly have a fight on their hands in fronting the challenging Bangladeshi target to keep their cup hopes alive in what was a praiseworthy effort. There were no big individual scorers for Bangladesh with the highest being Afif Hossain 39 followed by Mehdy Hasan Miraz 38.
The highest scorer for Bangladesh was Mehdy Hasan Miraz 38 off 26 with 2 sixes and boundaries apiece. Chamika Karunaratne 2 for 32 and Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva 2 for 41 were the pick of the Lankan bowlers.
CHIEF SCORES: Bangladesh 183/7 (20 Overs) (Asif Hossain 39, Mehdy Hasan Miraz 38, Mahmudullah 27, Mosaddak Hossain n.o. 24, Shakib Al Hasan 24, Chamika Karunaratne 2/32, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva 2/41, Maheesh Theekshana 1/23, Dilshan Madushanka 1/26, Asitha Fernando 1/51) Sri Lanka 184/8 (19.2 Overs) (Kusal Mendis 60, Dasun Shanaka 45, Pathum Nissanka 20, Chamika Karunaratne 16, Danushka Gunathilaka 11, Asitha Fernando n.o. 10, Maheesh Theekshana n.o. 00, Edadot Hossain 3/51, Taskin Ahmed 2/24, Mustafizur Rahman 1/32).