Asalanka, Rajapaksa script stunning opening win for Sri Lanka

Sports Desk
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Bangladesh were outplayed by Sri Lanka in their first match of the Super 12s of the ongoing T20 World Cup at Sharjah on Sunday.

Sri Lanka needed to score 172 to seal this match and register a flying start to the Super 12s, and they did it in style as Bangladesh missed two crucial catches of Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Charith Asalanka when they were batting at 17 and 63 respectively.

“Had we not missed those catches, the story would have been better,” Mahmudullah said after the match, “Batters did a great job. Liton and Naim gave us a very good start. Mushfiqur played a brilliant innings. We lost a few chances. Would like to correct those things in the next game.”

After getting lives from Liton Das’ sloppy hands, Rajapaksa scored 36 and Asalanka added 17 more runs, and eventually sealed the match for Sri Lanka.

It was only the third time when Bangladesh lost a T20I match after scoring 171 or more while batting first. On two of those three occasions, Bangladesh lost to Sri Lanka.

Apart from missing catches, Mohammad Saifuddin’s third over was also one of the main reasons behind Bangladesh’s defeat. The right-arm pacer gave away 22 runs with two sixes and two fours in the 16th over.

Nasum Ahmed earned a breakthrough in the very first over removing Kusal Perera for one. But the Lankans never lost control of the match.

In the second wicket stand, Sri Lanka added 69 off 45 balls, and in the fifth wicket, they added 86 off 52 balls— these two partnerships made Bangladesh’s job impossible.

Shakib bagged two wickets in the ninth over, and Bangladesh were close to back in control but that was not enough to break the confidence of the Sri Lankan batters.

Asalanka remained unbeaten for 80 off 49 balls with five fours and as many as sixes, while Rajapaksa fell for 53 after getting close to the win.

Earlier, Bangladesh posted 171 for four in 20 overs while batting first after losing the toss. Mohammad Naim and Mushfiqur Rahim hit a fifty each to guide the Tigers to a challenging total.

Naim and Liton Das added 40 runs in the opening stand which gave Bangladesh a strong foundation, and later Mushfiqur Rahim joined the party and hit a fifty after 11 innings.

It was the second fifty for Naim in this World Cup. He scored his first against Oman in Round 1.

But both fifties from Naim and Mushfiuq went in vain as the bowlers failed to defend the total.

In the other matches of Super 12s, Bangladesh will take on England, West Indies, South Africa, and Australia as well on October 27, 29 and November 2 and 4.