Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, 1st Twenty20, Chittagong February 12, 2014

Kusal fifty sets up last-ball thriller


Sri Lanka 168 for 7 (Kusal 64, Sunny 2-17) beat Bangladesh 166 for7 (Anamul 58, Kulasekara 2-29) by two runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Dinesh Chandimal was in the middle of several mini conferences during the Bangladesh chase, and at the end of the 16th over, he held his own by bringing back Lasith Malinga. Nasir Hossain got out and Sri Lanka went ahead and sensed victory even as the 20th over began. But Malinga was done, he had bowled the 19th, so Thisara Perera was given the ball and he almost gave it away. Anamul Haque blasted 14 runs in the final over and Bangladesh fell short by just two runs.

The dramatic end came in the last ball when Anamaul top-edged a full toss and was gobbled up by the bowler. His innings ended on 58 off 44 balls, opening up only towards the end when he hammered Perera twice over cover to bring the game almost to Bangladesh's grasp.

Chandimal's decision cut the home side short of Nasir's abilities to finish a T20 match. The 17th over originally seemed to be Sachithra Senanayake's responsibility, but Chandimal had held firm and Sri Lanka won perhaps on the back of his gutsy captaincy, highlighted by subtle changes in the field and more visibly last-minute bowling changes.

Defending 168 runs on a flat deck was never going to be easy but Sri Lanka bowled progressively better as the game went on. While Bangladesh's required rate seemed to be in control early on, the bowlers recovered towards the end, pushing it till the final over when Bangladesh needed 17 to win.

Shamsur Rahman and Tamim Iqbal gave the hosts an excellent start, adding the team's second fifty-plus opening stand. Shamsur was strong down the ground while Tamim played Malinga and the other seamers very well, particularly through point.

The tide turned when Shamsur got out softly, giving Ajantha Mendis a return catch. Angelo Mathews then made sure Sri Lanka remained in the game, by running back from short midwicket and diving full length to hold onto a miscued pull from Tamim.

Shakib and Anamul then added 43 runs for the third wicket, with some feisty batting and some wild slogs. This was the partnership that would take Bangladesh close to the target, but Shakib's over-eagerness to slog the ball nipped it in the 14th over. Shakib made 26 off 17 balls, his paddle sweep against the pace off Nuwan Kulasekera, standing out.

Sri Lanka's target was largely down to Kusal Perera.. The hacks, slices and bumps were abundant as he tucked in at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. He was in his element while the rest of the batting line-up stuttered, clubbing Mashrafe Mortaza over his head in the very first over.

Kusal then went after Sohag Gazi in the fourth over, sweeping him twice and then following it up with two bunts through midwicket to complete four consecutive fours. Comparisons with Sanath Jayasuriya were justified in the 13th over when he picked up Farhad Reza, with a jerk of the wrist. It landed in the stands between deep square-leg and midwicket.

With Kusal in pime form, the only way Bangladesh could have got him out was through a piece of brilliance. It came from Anamul at the midwicket boundary, jumping high to first get hold of the ball, before having the agility to twist and stay inside the rope as he balanced himself on one leg. Kusal was out for 64 off 44 balls, having struck seven fours and the six.

That was not the only great catch of the evening though. Kumar Sangakkara had lofted one towards widish long-on and had timed it wonderfully. Nasir ran across on the midwicket boundary, dove full length to his right, flew almost and held on to it. Seekuge Prasanna fell to an ill-timed sweep shot, giving left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny his first T20 international wicket, making it 87 for 4 in the 10th over.

At the start it was Mashrafe who struck in the first over when Tillakaratne Dilshan misread his guile and went for his scoop far too soon. Both of them played together in both domestic and Twenty20 tournaments in Bangladesh, so it was all the sweeter for Mashrafe.

Chandimal batted at No. 3, but he failed to make a mark as he was dismissed by Shakib Al Hasan. After a short burst against his opposite number Mashrafe, Chandimal fell to a good catch by Reza at long-on, ending a 56-run second wicket stand with Perera.

Shakib, Sunny and Mashrafe took two wickets each, the most impressive of them being Sunny. The debutant bowled straight, turned a few deliveries and made sure the Sri Lankan batsman never dominated him as he gave away just 17 runs in three overs.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • emba on February 14, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    @SriLankanYoungBlood I dont agree with u. SL team might be over rated as u call it,but most importantly they WIN games in subcontinent and overseas. Look at my team india getting thrashed everywhere we go not only that we get humiliated by minnows like the no 8 ranked team NZ. Also our captain Dhoni is well on his way to beat the Egyptian captain(losing record 25-0) and create a world record on the highest no.of away LOSES. Currently the streak is at 15-0. ROFL

  • Buddhika on February 14, 2014, 5:30 GMT

    @ Yousufahmed11 World Most OverHyped Teams r Indian ODI Team and SL T20 team. unfortunately Still both Team Captions,Selection Committee,Fans not understood it and still fans boasting.Other than you and me. Both team don't count their weakness and strengths and oppositions weakness and strengths. India' got CT trophy last year with brand new team that time no team has idea of IND team strengths and they could win it.but after that all other team's get more attention and understood weakness of Dhawan,Raina,Rohit they planned and executed it.Because of IND's over hyped situation they didn't care about other teams and now result is coming in better way.4-0 in beaten against NZ. SL palyed mostly played T20 with 1 or 2 matches other than SA.Eg:NZ 1,PAK 2,SA 3 NZ series they win,PAK draw 1-1,SA lost 2-1 But some how they could retain no 1.Because of that they don't care any other teams.if they can't understand the bitter truth so sorry 4 2014T20WC and 2015 WC.

  • Cricinfouser on February 14, 2014, 3:57 GMT

    @Asiacricket1234 Read your comments and language used by you before you call me narrow minded and "pathetic". The only point that I tried to make before all you BD fans ganged up against me was that SL should have been beating BD easily with the difference in ranking. The odds on today's game are +225 and -275 even after that close match, that should tell you something. I called BD minnows only when your fellow countrymen started challenging my opinions (to which I am entitled to), and by doing that I just called spade a spade. Just take a look at your test record- 4 wins in 81 matches- 2 against Zim and 2 against WI when their players were on a strike. I acknowledge the strides your team has made but if you BD fans are happy with just that and being ranked at the bottom in all formats despite that and calling this a great achievement, who am I to burst the bubble?

  • Manoj on February 14, 2014, 1:54 GMT

    @SriLankanYoungBlood, LankaGod: brother, It is trure that SL No 1 team just managed to beat Ban No. 10 team by just 2 runs. But atleast Lankans won the match. But, see how our No. 1 team got humiliated against No. 8 NZ team. We failed to win a match even by 1 run. Isn't it more pathetic?

  • Farhan on February 14, 2014, 0:39 GMT

    @LankanGod: As I said narrow minded pathetic people like you can never accept the fact that someone else is doing well. Instead they'll claim that they had a bad day. SL is a great team and we fought hard with them because we are a good team too. As for our past record: it doesn't matter what we have done in last 5 years. What matters is how we are doing now and we have done well in last 2 years specially in shorter format. Its people like you who consider our win as accident. No sane people would because we win ODI against top team regularly now. Its unfortunate to see someone like you one SL vs BAN thread as most SL fans are well mannered and know how to appreciate other which makes me wonder are you even an Sri Lankan. Anyway live with your miserable thoughts and have fun

  • Shah on February 13, 2014, 20:28 GMT

    Well now SL can't beat BD comprehensively & by a big margin because its very simple..... SL themselves are also MINNOWS that's why two minnows having a nail biting contest & SL is minnows so no point of upset ppl can't take it but you have to take it & digest it well..& see how SL's big target was chased down easily by PAK in their last test match with them it was like PAK played with a team who is yet to get status...& by the way its not just Dalmiya himself or whoever but ICC also so they knows at least much much better than some of you here against BD..& getting test status is not like having a piece of cake huh!..they earned better have real respect on that come you ppl still raise ques about BD's test status when they are still not getting enough test matches to perform consistently & beat big guns anywhere & have more experience..& to say now SL is not a big gun comparing with others nothing so much to jump & celebrate that way beating SL!

  • Cricinfouser on February 13, 2014, 13:45 GMT

    I think that the BD fans should get off the high horses before reacting to my comments. To r0cketman and asiacricket1234 you are just repeating what I meant that yes SL should be beating BD comprehensively. If they are not doing that, there is something wrong with this team as a unit. And for all those fans who insist that BD are not minnows anymore and you should look at your test record and ODI record to laugh at your own joke. Even today when your team beats a big team it is considered an upset, not a routine. If it weren't for India's Dalmiya who wanted to buy BCB votes, you guys would have not got a test status until today.

  • proud71 on February 13, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    How come some lankan fan's forget very few years back they were minnows !! ,even today they are extremely ordinary outside subcontinent.

  • Janaka on February 13, 2014, 12:12 GMT

    In yesterday's match, what I admired most was not Kusal's batting, but the amazing fielding efforts by SOME in both teams. It was just stunning. Bangladesh reminded me early Sri Lanka back in old days, when Roshan Mahanama and Sanath Jayasuriya used to take stunning catches. And Mathews did a similar. There is nothing better than seeing such a beautiful catching.

  • Janaka on February 13, 2014, 12:08 GMT

    As I said earlier also, Chandimal is a better captain than Sanga and Mathews, at least in the shorter format. What I admire most in him and Mahela is that they attack! They really attack. As a player, and as a captain, both of them tries to push the opponents back. I admire that a lot. Sanga is over the limit defensive. If he gave Malinga another two overs in world cup finals, it could have been us lifting the world cup. In early stages, Mathews seems to be an aggressive player. If he listens to his intrinsics, may be he can become better.

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