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March 9, 2024
Nuwan Thushara hat-trick in 5/20 routing of Bangladesh as Sri Lanka record third successive series triumph – Kusal Mendis 86 off 55

Sri Lanka Cricket

By Srian Obeyesekere

A virtual unheard of on the big stage, 29-year-old right arm medium pacer, Nuwan Thushara emerged from the shadows of the oblivion to destroy Bangladesh with a first over hat-trick in a career best 5 for 20 Player of the Match magical display as Sri Lanka pocketed the decisive third T20 by 28 runs in sweeping the hosts in their own backyard 2-1 at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Saturday. Bangladesh was bowled out for 146 in 19.4 overs chasing Sri Lanka’s 174 off 20 driven by an explosive 86 off 55 balls smoking the Bangladesh attack over the top on 6 occasions and a similar number to the boundary.

The triumph marked a significant turnaround in the former world champions one-day image from a flagging recent past in a new torchbearer captaincy shake-up payoff following the Lankans third successive series triumph in the wake of home victories against Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. While Wanindu Hasaranga’s deputy Charith Asalanka executed a lead from the front Player of the Match triumph in deputizing for his skipper who sat out the first two games from a 2-match suspension, there was Hasaranga, the imaginative 26-year-old leading the side in that ultimate champagne thrust

Nuwan Thushara, returning to the big stage in his eighth appearance since his last T20 international in 2022 having debuted against Australia on February 13, simply snuffed out Bangladesh by a top order hat-trick devastation clean bowling Najmul Hossain Shanto for 1 for the prize wicket of the skipper off his second delivery that followed a peach double act when he bowled Towhid Hridoy and went on to trap Mahmudullah in a 4 for 15 decimation in 3.4 overs as the hosts further skidded to 32 for 6 after 8.1 and 7 for 76 after 13.2 to finally reaching 146 by a lusty 53 off 30 by No.8 Rishad Hossain who reeled off 7 sixes in adding a face saving 41 for the eighth wicket off 21 with Taskin Ahmed who struck 31 off 21 with 3 boundaries and 2 sixes. Hasaranga took 2 for 32, Dhananjaya de Silva 1 for 2, Dasun Shanaka 1 for 11 and Maheesh Theekshana 1 for 35.

Kusal Mendis unleashed a virtual singlehanded dominant role in an otherwise comparative string of low key, but quickfire contributions from the rest best exemplified by the next best being Dasun Shanaka’s 19 off 9, 14 of which from six and 2 boundaries in a pleasing comeback to his own from a long low patch by the former captain coming at No.7.

Mendis, who watched Dhananjaya de Silva, 8 off 12 (1×4), replacement for Avishka Fernando who failed to deliver with the bat in the previous two games, depart with the score 18, added 34 off 31 balls with one drop Kamindu Mendis who made a run a ball 12 with 2 boundaries. The advent of the imaginative Lankan skipper Wanindu Hasaranga, whose plus point of a willing gambler promoting himself to No.4 paid off in lifting Sri Lanka from 52 for 2 after 7.4 overs to 111 for 3 after 12.5 having taken strike in the fifth ball of the eighth over for 15 off 13 with a six and a boundary in a cornerstone 59 runs for the third-wicket bonding off 31 with Mendis.


It must be said of Shanaka that the former captain took over from where Mendis left at 140 for 5 after 16.5 to taking Sri Lanka to the challenging 174 being run out off the final delivery in adding 22 off the last 13 with Sadeera Samarawickrama unbeaten on a run a ball 7 (1×4) after Angelo Mathews had departed for 10 off 7 (1×4).

Kusal Mendis took the Player of the Series award.


Sri Lanka 174 (20 Overs)

(Kusal Mendis 86, Dasun Shanaka 19, Wanindu Hasaranga 15, Kamindu Mendis 12, Angelo Mathews 10, Sadeera Samarawicrama n.o. 7, Taskin Ahmed 2/25, Rishad Hossain 2/35, Shoriful Islam 1/28, Mustafizur Rahman 1/47)

Bangladesh 146 (19.4 Overs)

(Rishad Hossain 53, Taskin Ahmed 31, Mahedi Hasan 19, Soumya Sarkar 11, Mustafizur Rahman n.o. 7,

Nuwan Thushara 5/20, Wanindu Hasaranga 2/32, Dhananjaya de Silva 1/2, Maheesh Theekshana 1/35)


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