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Cricket

Updated on: Sunday, October 24, 2021, 07:31 PM IST

T20 World Cup: Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa guide Sri Lanka home against Bangladesh

Left-handers Charith Asalanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa added 86 for the fifth wicket
Bhanuka Rajapaksa (l) and Charith Asalanka in action for Sri Lanka. | Photo: Twitter

Bhanuka Rajapaksa (l) and Charith Asalanka in action for Sri Lanka. | Photo: Twitter

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An 86-run partnership for the fifth wicket helped Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by five wickets in their Super 12 match of the Men's T20 World Cup in Sharjah on Sunday.

Sri Lanka suffered a mid-innings mini batting collapse but recovered in time to chase down the target of 172 with seven balls to spare, thanks to brilliant half centuries from Asalanka (80 not out) and Rajapaksa (53 off 31 balls) with the duo stitching a good partnership in just 8.4 overs.

The 24-year-old Asalanka, who has played just eight ODIs and four T20Is before Sunday's match, held the Sri Lanka innings together, hitting five fours and as many sixes in his entertaining unbeaten knock. Coming in the 10th over, the 30-year-old Rajapaksa smashed three fours and as many sixes in his 31-ball innings as Sri Lanka reached 172 for 5 in 18.5 overs.

However, Bangladesh would certainly be disappointed with their shoddy outfielding as Litton Das dropped regulation catches of both Rajapaksa and Asalanka denying his team a shot at victory.

Bangladesh got the breakthrough with the fourth delivery itself as left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed got rid of opener Kusal Perera (1) who failed to read a flatter and quicker delivery and was clean bowled.

Despite the early jolt, Sri Lanka were on the ascendency with Asalanka getting the boundaries with ease. He hoisted Nasum for two sixes in the third over and then punished Mahedi Hasan for another maximum to take Sri Lanka to 54 for 1 at the end of powerplay.

But Shakib Al Hasan triggered a mini batting collapse with two wickets -- that of Pathum Nissanka (24) and Avishka Fernando (0) -- in four balls.

Mohammad Saifuddin then dismissed Wanindu Hasaranga (6) as Sri Lanka lost three wickets in 10 balls for the addition of nine runs.

Sri Lanka were 80 for 4 at the halfway mark and set-batter Asalanka, who reached to his fifty off 32 balls, kept them in the hunt. He was going great guns by hoisting Mahmudullah for two sixes in the 14th over.

Sri Lanka needed 46 from the final five overs but Asalanka and new batter Rajapaksa decisively titled the balance of the game in their favour. Rajapaksa smacked three sixes in a sensational show of batting pyrotechnics in the 16th over bowled by Saifuddin from which Sri Lanka took 22 runs.

Earlier, Mohammad Naim hit 62 off 52 and Mushfiqur Rahim struck 57 off just 37 balls as Bangladesh posted 171/4.

Sri Lanka's bowlers began well after inserting Bangladesh in. The first 16 balls just yielded 12 runs with Das and Naim struggling to get boundaries. However, Dushmantha Chameera delivered a couple of no balls in succession and that got the men in green going.

At least one four in every single over since, till the end of the powerplay meant Bangladesh ended the phase with 41 for the loss of Das. That wicket resulted in flares rising as after Das holed out to mid-off, words were exchanged between him and Lahiru Kumara. Shakib then struck a couple of fours off Asalanka before being cleaned up by Chamika Karunaratne.

Naim and Rahim then got together and kept the Lankan bowlers at bay. The pair found gaps, ran well and found the boundaries as they added 73 for the third wicket. That stand deflated Sri Lanka, who then lost control with the ball. Naim struck yet another half century in the T20 World Cup but was out pulling a short ball from Binura Fernando.

Rahim, meanwhile, took over the mantle and found gaps regularly, meting out a special treatment to Wanindu Hasaranga's spin. He brought up his first half century in T20 World Cups and eventually finished unbeaten on 57 off just 37 balls.

Chameera's four overs cost him 41.

Brief Scores: Bangladesh 171/4 in 20 overs (Mohammad Naim 62, Mushfiqur Rahim 57*) lost to Sri Lanka 172/5 in 18.5 overs (Charith Asalanka 80*, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 53; Shakib Al Hasan 2/17) by five wickets

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Published on: Sunday, October 24, 2021, 07:19 PM IST
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