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Mohammad Isam in Chittagong
February 12, 2014
Bangladesh needed three to win off the last ball and although Anamul Haque, on 58 off 44, would regret top-edging the hip-high full toss, Bangladesh were ultimately done in by two earlier dismissals. Captain Mashrafe Mortaza said that Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain fell at crucial times which limited their ability to challenge the the target of 169.
Shakib had added 43 runs for the third wicket with Anamul, before he tried to belt Nuwan Kulasekara in the 14th over and was bowled off a slower ball. Bangladesh needed a very gettable 62 runs off 40 balls before he got out. Nasir, Bangladesh's designated finisher, swung hard against Lasith Malinga and holed out at long-on. At the time, Bangladesh still had 20 balls to get the requisite 37 runs, but that is the price Nasir or Shakib pays for their risk-taking.
"Shakib and Nasir's dismissals made a lot of difference because we could not accelerate from that point," Mashrafe said. "It was probably the right time to pick up the pace.
"We are very disappointed to lose such a game to the No. 1-ranked team in the world. Everyone is upset, but we will take good points out of this game. Nasir's dismissal was just bad timing for us. It showed how things can go the other way."
But since Bangladesh were just one hit away from beating Sri Lanka, Anamul's execution off that last ball would always be debated. Mashrafe has said it was down to luck, as almost everything was going the home team's way in the final over.
"We were equal with Sri Lanka and that one ball in the end made the difference. Anamul was hitting it well by that time, as we had seen the previous two balls when he hit two very good shots over cover. The last ball was unfortunate, the timing wasn't there. It could have taken a top edge and gone behind the keeper but he hit it with the face of the bat.
"The platform was ready for us. The batsman was set and the bowler was under pressure. I think luck betrayed us in the end. But credit to [Anamul Haque] Bijoy for bouncing back so well after missing out on the Test matches. He took the side very close to victory."
Thisara Perera was given that last over and leaked 14 runs off the first five balls, but Sri Lanka's top-scorer Kusal Perera, who believed the visitors' score was a little light, said the team had backed Thisara to deliver.
"It is a team game, and we can't forget the fast bowler in the last ball," he said. "He bowled two balls, [and got hit for] two boundaries. We had to ask him something before the last ball. That's how the game goes.
"We were always thinking about winning the match. We don't want to think about the losing side. We were 10 to 15 runs short. But it was a defendable target."
Bangladesh's fielding kept them in the game when Kusal was smashing it everywhere during his 44-ball 64. Anamul took a superbly balanced catch at deep midwicket while Nasir took a blinder diving to his right around the same position at the other end of the ground. Mashrafe has said that it was important to field well to turn their fortunes in the shortest format. Bangladesh have now lost 23 of 32 matches played since 2006.
"We were always a good fielding side, and today we had some really good ones out there," he said. "We took some great catches, and those have more of an effect in Twenty20s than Tests or ODIs. We dropped a few catches in the Test series, so it was a good way to bounce back.
"I would still say we played well. Sunny bowled well, and Mithun probably had to play that shot. It was a good mix for us but to win T20 games, there has to be two bowlers and three batsmen doing the job, or three bowlers and two batsmen."
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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