Bangladesh registered a 23-run upset victory over defending champion Sri Lanka in a round-robin league match and kept its hopes alive of qualifying for the Asia Cup T20 tournament’s final here on Sunday.
Batting first, Sabbir Rahaman’s 54-ball 80 helped the host reach a competitive 147 for seven in 20 overs. In reply, Sri Lanka looked like chasing the target easily till the 10th over but suffered a dramatic batting collapse as it finished at 124 for eight in the end.
Mustafizur Rahaman (one for 19 in four overs) again bowled brilliantly at the death using all the variations in his armoury to help Bangladesh notch up its second win. Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza kept three overs of his best bowler at the back end which proved to be useful.
Spinners Shakib Al Hasan (two for 21 in four overs) and Mahmudullah Riyadh (one for 14 in two overs) also contributed as they conceded only 35 runs off their six overs.
Taking four wickets for 16 runs between the 11th and 15th overs was the turning point for the hosts. Soumya Sarkar took a lovely catch, running back from his mid-off position to dismiss Tillekaratne Dilshan (12).
Dinesh Chandimal (37) and Shehan Jayasuriya (26) added 56 runs for the second wicket as Sri Lanka was cruising along at 76 for one in the 11th over. But then, Chandimal played a reverse slog pull which landed in the hands of Taskin Ahmed at deep point. Jayasuriya was then stumped off Shakib’s bowling as Sri Lanka slumped to 78 for three. It soon became 85 for four when Thisara Perera (4) failed to capitalise on a dropped catch as Mustafizur trapped him in front.