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1st T20I (N), Sylhet, March 04, 2024, Sri Lanka tour of Bangladesh
(20 ov, T:207) 203/8

Sri Lanka won by 3 runs

Player Of The Match
44* (21) & 3 catches
Cricinfo's MVP
97.31 ptsImpact List

Sri Lanka survive Jaker Ali scare to seal thriller and go 1-0 up

The seeds for Sri Lanka's victory were sown by their batters, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Jaker Ali kept Bangladesh's chase ticking with his maiden T20I fifty, Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20I, Sylhet, March 4, 2024

Jaker Ali kept Bangladesh's chase ticking with his maiden T20I fifty  •  Bangladesh Cricket Board

Sri Lanka 206 for 3 (Samarawickrama 61*, Kusal Mendis 59) beat Bangladesh 203 for 8 (Jaker 68, Mahmudullah 54, Mathews 2-17) by three runs
It all came down to the last over in Sylhet. Chasing 207, Bangladesh needed 12, with the rampaging Jaker Ali at the non-striker's end, but Dasun Shanaka nailed his lines and lengths to help Sri Lanka snatch a three-run win in the first T20I in Sylhet.
By the time Jaker got on strike, Bangladesh needed ten from four balls. But Shanaka held his nerve to go full on off; Jaker looked to get under the ball but it took the bottom of the bat and stand-in captain Charith Asalanka, at long-off, judged a low catch to his left to perfection.
Still, it was not done, as Bangladesh's No. 10 Shoriful Islam slammed his first ball over extra cover, and took a leg-bye off the penultimate ball. That left Taskin Ahmed needing to hit a four to tie and six to win, but he could manage neither. The Sri Lanka fielders started celebrating as soon as Taskin toe-ended another wide, full ball from Shanaka, managing just a single.
But the seeds for this win were sown much earlier, by Sri Lanka's batters. They reached 206 for 3 despite missing Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera and their regular captain Wanindu Hasaranga, who is serving his suspension for an outburst against the umpires. In their absence, Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama struck brisk fifties and Asalanka teed off at the death to produce the most impactful knock of the night. He struck six sixes in his unbeaten 44 off 21 balls.

Bangladesh meek after Shoriful strikes first blow

The talk of putting past rivalries behind them lasted all of two balls. After Shoriful had Avishka Fernando caught behind, he mimicked Angelo Mathews' celebration from the two sides' World Cup match last year; after Shakib and Bangladesh had stirred controversy by appealing - successfully - to have Mathews timed out, Mathews had pointed to his wrist in turn after snagging Shakib in the chase.
Taskin then removed Kamindu Mendis in the fifth over but he had already set the ball rolling with two sixes in his 14-ball 19. Kusal Mendis, who was quiet in the powerplay, properly got going in the 12th over when he struck Rishad Hossain for two consecutive sixes in an 18-run over. The second of those sixes got him to a 28-ball half-century.

Asalanka puts on a fiery show

Asalanka led that assault, belting six sixes. He struck Taskin over wide long-on before pasting him over deep square leg in the 17th over. He sliced Mustafizur Rahman over deep third, before hammering a similar shot off Shoriful for a six over cover-point. He struck a wayward Mustafizur for two sixes in the last over too, powerfully over point, and the last one over deep square leg again. Asalanka and Samarawickrama added 73 runs for the unbroken fourth-wicket stand in the last 5.2 overs.

Mathews exposes Bangladesh top order

Mathews got Sri Lanka two of their first three breakthroughs as the visitors dominated Bangladesh in the powerplay. Litton played an ill-advised shot - shuffling way outside off stump and then trying to flick to leg - to be caught behind in the first over. Soumya Sarkar skied Binura Fernando in the fourth over after making 12, before Mathews had Towhid Hridoy caught behind for 8. The in-form Hridoy had struck a superb six off his first ball but lasted only four balls more.

Mahmudullah leads recovery

Mahmudullah also started his innings with a six but unlike Hridoy, he kept up the pressure on the Sri Lanka bowlers. He cracked Mathews over extra cover first ball before slamming Dasun Shanaka in the seventh over to bring up Bangladesh's fifty. Mahmudullah lost captain Najmul Hossain Shanto along the way, but found newcomer Jaker willing to rotate the strike.
After Samarawickrama dropped Mahmudullah on 27, the veteran struck Matheesha Pathirana to the second tier of the eastern gallery. It turned out to be an 11-ball over from Pathirana who bowled big wides and a couple of no-balls. It went for 20 runs as Jaker struck his first six of the night too.

Jaker takes over from Mahmudullah

Avishka Fernando took a good catch at the long-on boundary to end Mahmudullah's innings on 54 off 31 balls. That looked like the end of Bangladesh's chase but Jaker chose this moment to hit a higher gear.
In the same over as the wicket, he struck Maheesh Theekshana for a six over square leg before hammering Shanaka for two sixes to the leg side in the next over. He hit two more sixes in the next two overs, off Theekshana and Pathirana. The latter's was another 11-ball over, which went for 19, as he struggled substantially with cramp. This over was so wayward wicketkeeper Kusal was even seen standing almost at second slip to receive the ball, as Pathirana attempted to send down wide yorkers.
Jaker reached his maiden T20I fifty off 25 balls with a blast through the covers to end Pathirana's over. Mahedi Hasan timed two fours off Binura Fernando, both through wide third in the 18th over, but he fell trying to hoick the same bowler. The sixth-wicket pair had added 65 runs in 4.3 overs but Mahedi left with Bangladesh still needing 27 off the last 2.1.

Jaker takes it deep, and almost finishes it off

Pathirana continued to be wayward in his last over, the penultimate of the innings. He conceded 15 runs including three fours, and bowled another no-ball. Jaker struck him through midwicket, fine leg and extra cover to leave Bangladesh needing 12 off the last over. It seemed then they might pull off an amazing heist, but it was not to be.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Win Probability
SL 100%
100%50%100%SL InningsBAN Innings

Over 20 • BAN 203/8

Rishad Hossain c Asalanka b Shanaka 0 (2b 0x4 0x6 8m) SR: 0
Jaker Ali c Asalanka b Shanaka 68 (34b 4x4 6x6 70m) SR: 200
Sri Lanka won by 3 runs
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