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Asia Cup: Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by 21 runs in Super 4s

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An impressive 72-ball 93 from Sadeera Samarawickrama on a trying wicket, followed by three-wicket hauls for Dasun Shanaka and Maheesh Theekshana, helped Sri Lanka begin the Super Fours of the Asia Cup with a 21-run victory in Colombo on Saturday (September 9). Towhid Hridoy came up with a fighting 82 off 97 in the chase of 257 but regular wickets meant that Bangladesh ended up short, as they suffered their second successive defeat in the second leg of the tournament while Sri Lanka recorded their 13th successive victory in ODI cricket.

Mehidy Hasan and Mohammad Naim were involved in a half-century stand to help Bangladesh make a steady start in the chase. Mehidy cashed in on some loose deliveries to strike two fours off Theekshana while Naim was slightly jittery at the other end, playing and missing multiple times, and he was also slower with his scoring compared to his partner. Bangladesh, though, brought up the fifty in the 11th over, with Mehidy scoring at a run-a-ball. However, his stay came to an end when Shanaka bowled a short one and Mehidy was late on the pull, handing a catch to midwicket. Naim, 46-ball struggle for only 21 runs was ended by the Sri Lanka skipper, again with a short ball.

Bangladesh were in more trouble when Matheesha Pathirana removed Shakib Al Hasan in the 16th over. Shakib poked at a delivery outside off and ended up getting an edge to the ‘keeper, with Sri Lanka having to take the review route to send the Bangladesh skipper back to the hut. The procession continued as they slipped to 83/4 when Litton Das got an inside edge off Dunith Wellalage and the ball bounced off ‘keeper Kusal Mendis’s knee before he juggled and held on to it. The quick wickets meant that Towhid Hridoy and Mushfiqur Rahim had to minimise the risks in their rebuilding job, raising a half-century stand in 84 deliveries as the required rate rose past seven in the 33rd over.

Hridoy and Rahim extended their partnership to 72 before Shanaka returned to dismiss the latter who failed to clear mid-off. Hridoy brought up a 73-ball fifty with a four and also struck two boundaries off Theekshana, with the equation reading 81 off the last 10 overs.

After seeing Shamim Hossain out lbw to Theekshana, Hridoy struck a four off Pathirana and a six off Theekshana. But Sri Lanka got a huge advantage in the game when Theekshana had Hridoy out lbw in the 80s, with a review failing to help him. Pathirana cleaned up the tail to also pick up three as Bangladesh’s innings ended in the 49th over.

Earlier, Sri Lanka got off to a good start after being asked to bat, with Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka putting on a brisk 34-run partnership. Hasan Mahmud ended the stand by having Karunaratne caught behind but another good partnership ensued, between Nissanka and Mendis, setting up a good platform for Sri Lanka. Bangladesh did well to apply the brakes on the scoring but their catching left the bowlers disappointed as both Nissanka and Mendis got lucky breaks. Shoriful finally ended the 74-run stand by having Nissanka trapped leg-before, and also picked up the wicket of Mendis soon after the No.3 reached fifty.

Taskin Ahmed bowled a slower ball to have Charith Asalanka caught at mid-on and Dhananjaya fell to Mahmud attempting a backfoot punch. While wickets fell around him, Samarawickrama played a steady hand with good strike rotation and timely boundaries. Scoring at a good rate, he powered his team’s progress as he went past fifty in the 42nd over, with Sri Lanka crossing 200 in the next.

Shanaka, who played second fiddle in a 60-run stand with Samarawickrama, became Mahmud’s third scalp. Samarawickrama entered the 80s by scoring the first six of the innings, off Mahmud, who then had Wellalage run out by kicking the ball onto the stumps. Taskin accounted for Theekshana in the final over but Samarawickrama responded with a four and a six, before getting out.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 257/9 in 50 overs (Sadeera Samarawickrama 93, Kusal Mendis 50; Hasan Mahmud 3-57, Taskin Ahmed 3-62) beat Bangladesh 236 in 48.1 overs (Towhid Hridoy 82, Dasun Shanaka 3-28, Matheesha Pathirana 3-58) by 21 runs.

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