Bangladesh on the March: Definitive Victory in ODI in Lanka

Rex Clementine,  in Island,7  April 2017

Former captain Shakib Al Hasan came up with an inspired all-round performance to guide Bangladesh to an emphatic 45 run win and square the two match T-20 series against Sri Lanka at R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday. Bangladesh completed a highly successful tour having squared the Test, ODI and the T-20 series leaving Sri Lanka with many questions, but fewer answers. It was Sri Lanka’s 11th defeat in 13 games at RPS.

 Shakib in full flow

Shakib top scored with 38 in the Bangladesh total of 176 for nine. He then opened bowling and dismissed openers Kusal Perera and Dilshan Munaweera in his first two overs. Sri Lanka slumped to 40 for five and recovered thanks to a 58 run stand for the sixth wicket between Chamara Kapugedara and Thisara Perera. Shakib came back for a fresh spell in the 13th over and broke the stand when he had Perera stumped for 27 off 23 deliveries. It was a clever piece of bowling that accounted for the wicket of the dangerous Perera.

Shakib finished with three for four 24 in his quota of four overs. Captain Mashrafe Mortaza playing his last T-20 International took one for 30 in his four overs.

The highly over-rated Chamara Kapugedara posted his maiden half-century in his 43rd game. He has never been able to finish a game for the team and it was the case yesterday as well as he was dismissed soon after the milestone. He faced 35 deliveries and hit five fours and a six.

Earlier, Sri Lanka did well to pull things back after Bangladesh threatened at one stage to score in excess of 200. The openers – Soumya Sarkar and Imurl Kayes, playing instead of the injured Tamim Iqbal, added 71 runs for the first wicket in 39 deliveries. At the half-way through, Bangladesh were 101 for two.

Dropped catches continued to haunt the Sri Lankans as Shakib was put down twice in the same over by Vikum Sanjaya and Dilshan Munaweera in the deep off the bowling of Seekuge Prasanna. Shakib went onto top score with 38 runs.  

Fast bowler Lasith Malinga deceived the opposition with clever change of pace and finished with his maiden hat-trick in T-20 cricket. He became only the fifth bowler to take a hat-trick in T-20 Internationals and the second Sri Lankan after Thisara Perera. Bowling the penultimate over, Malinga cleaned up Mushfiqur Rahim and Mashrafe Mortaza before trapping Mehedi Hasan leg-before wicket.

Fielding again made the difference between the two sides.

While Bangladesh were brilliant diving to save every run, the Sri Lankans fielded like a school boy team.









TWO: Andrew Fidel Fernando’s reading in ESPNcricnfo:

Freedom was the hallmark of Bangladesh’s victory in the second T20I, said Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, who top-scored for his side with a 31-ball 38, before claiming 3 for 24, having opened the bowling. That Bangladesh played without fear was clear in the first six overs of the match: Soumya Sarkar and Imrul Kayes cracked eight fours and three sixes inside the Powerplay, fetching 68 runs. Shakib subsequently consolidated the innings alongside Sabbir Rahman and Mosaddek Hossain. Even though Bangladesh lost quick wickets towards the end of the innings, 176 for 9 always seemed a formidable score.

The 45-run victory was Bangladesh’s first in the format since they beat Oman in Dharamsala in March last year.

“We played with more freedom in the second T20I, compared to the first game,” Shakib said. “I think it is a positive sign. We have to play like this in T20s. It is important because we hadn’t won the last eight games. The Asia Cup last year was our last good tournament. It was a big challenge for us in this game, as we had lost the first game. This is a satisfying win.”

Though Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza didn’t have an especially memorable game himself – he got out for a golden duck, and then returned 1 for 30 from his four overs – his team was intent on sending their captain into retirement with a win, Shakib said.

Furthermore, despite being the frontrunner to take over the reins from Mashrafe as the new T20I captain, Shakib said he was “not thinking about captaincy” at present. Instead, he chose to dwell on Mashrafe’s legacy. “Mashrafe is a special figure in the dressing room,” Shakib said. “Naturally, everyone will miss him. We need support on and off the field, and there’s no one more helpful than him. Nobody can play forever, so I wish him all the very best in life. I would want him to continue in the ODI team for a long time, and take Bangladesh cricket forward.”

Shakib stopped short of proclaiming the Sri Lanka tour as Bangladesh’s best-ever abroad, but mentioned that victories in the country were “rare”. All three series were drawn 1-1.

“We made huge improvements in the Test series after losing the first game. In ODIs, we showed the consistency of the last couple of years. We didn’t bat well in the third ODI, but overall we had a mindset change in Tests and T20s. We don’t often win like this abroad.”

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

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