Courtesy to Shakib Al Hasan’s all-round performance as Bangladesh Sri Lanka by 3 wickets
Sri Lanka was all-out for 279 at the end of their innings while the chase was supported by a 169-run partnership between Shakib and Najmul Hossain Shanto at the third wicket, despite the fact that Sri Lanka became the first team in this World Cup to actually struggle with the evening dew.
Bangladesh had won the toss and decided to bowl first. A 61-run partnership between Nissanka and Kusal Mendis settled the Sri Lankan innings after another early wicket for Kusal Perera, who was caught spectacularly behind the stumps by Mushfiqur Rahim.
40 runs were scored in that stand by an aggressive Nissanka, who often found boundaries to ease the pressure building at the other end, while an inconsistent Mendis looked for consistency.
Mendis took 14 balls to get off to a good start, and even though he managed two boundaries in his 30-ball stay (a four and a six), he didn’t look like the player who had taken the competition by storm in the early going. A loft down the ground lacking in power brought about his eventual demise.
Before another strong stand threatened to push Sri Lanka ahead, Nissanka quickly followed, chopping Tanzim on.
Asalanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama, who was also new to the crease, joined the fight at this point. Their run-scoring was mainly risk-free, but their left-right combination made things especially tough for the Bangladeshi bowlers.
Samarawickrama was unfazed until he found deep square-leg with an aerial flick, which is what made his ejection all the more shocking. The turning point in the innings and the match was heralded by this wicket, when Angelo Mathews strode out, oblivious to the fate that would await him.
According to the tournament playing conditions:
“After the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batter, the incoming batter must, unless Time has been called, be ready to receive the ball, or for the other batter to be ready to receive the next ball within 2 minutes of the dismissal or retirement. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batter will be out, Timed out.”
Regarding how they had lost wickets up until then, Sri Lanka’s batters might perhaps have been accused of complacency. However, in an instant, the sense of unfairness surrounding Mathews’ dismissal gave rise to a determination that could have been more beneficial for them earlier in the competition.
Throughout the entire competition, Sri Lanka had not managed to form any meaningful partnerships lower down the order. Suddenly, they discovered two of true quality. The first partnership of Asalanka and Dhananjaya de Silva produced a score of 78, which was Sri Lanka’s best sixth-wicket partnership since their opening game against South Africa.
Asalanka and Maheesh Theekshana stitched another stand of 45 after Dhananjaya was bowled out by Mehidy Hasan Miraz. This was easily the finest seventh-wicket stand of the tournament for Sri Lanka.
Before hiding out at deep point, Asalanka managed to scrape up an additional 20 with Dushmantha Chameera. A fantastic inning filled with calculated risks and smart strike rotation came to a close. He was the one who missed a clear opportunity to take Shakib deep when he was on seven, so it would be a bittersweet day for him. Mathews was the bowler.
Shakib would have the last laugh, even though the wicket might have been Sri Lanka’s lucky break. While Shakib scored 75 runs before Mathews finally got his man, he did so after giving Shakib a final send-off by touching his wrist and indicating that it was “time” to go.
Mathews was not finished yet, as he promptly dismissed Shanto when Sri Lanka appeared to have a remote possibility. Subsequently, Theekshana secured two more scalps, while Dilshan Madushanka added another, bringing his World Cup tally to 21.
But in the end, the game ended quickly due to some furious blows, thus it was a case of too little, too late. Bangladesh, however, bat deep and they kept their cool to secure a hard-fought win.
Their chase was supported by a 169-run partnership between Shakib and Najmul Hossain Shanto at the third wicket, despite the fact that Sri Lanka became the first team in this World Cup to actually struggle with the evening dew.
Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh Captain:
“When I won the toss, I didn’t have any hesitation in bowling first because we had trained here [in the dew]. We had to bat deep. Luckily we got a big partnership. Shanto and I applied ourselves really well. We would have loved to finish early – with lesser wickets [lost] – but a win is a win. One of our fielders came to me and said that if I appealed, he would be out. The umpire asked me if I was serious. It’s in the laws; I don’t know if it’s right or wrong. I felt like I was at war. Whatever I had to do, I did it. There will be debates. Today that (the time out) helped, I won’t deny that!”
“Charith played a brilliant innings, but we were 30-40 runs short; 320 would have been good enough on this wicket. I’m happy that Pathum, Sadeera and Dilshan are coming through. I think in the future we’ll have a very good team which shows promise. We had a couple of injuries, and that was the reason we had so many changes and newcomers. But we also made mistakes; had we played better cricket, we would have a better chance of entering the top four. It’s very disappointing. When Mathews came to the crease, there were five seconds left. When he came out, he found out about the strap of the helmet. It was disappointing. We expected him to score runs for us; it’s disappointing that the umpires couldn’t step in and make good decisions.”
Shakib Al Hasan is the Player of the Match:
“There wasn’t much for the bowlers. We bowled well up front. There were short boundaries. Bowling, we have always felt, wins us more matches. We knew we could fight back. We kept on believing. The ground dimension helped [while batting]. A few shots came off, and I never looked back. We could have been consistent; that is the one disappointment.”