This win means a lot for us, especially chasing down 200-plus. We have never done this in the pastTamim Iqbal
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Bangladesh had come into the game having lost all four of their most recent limited-overs matches to Sri Lanka. Of more relevance was the 2-0 defeat in the bilateral T20I series last month, and their problem of giving away wickets during the powerplay as Akila Dananjaya pitted his offspin against left-handed openers Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar with great success.
It has long been a Sri Lankan T20 strategy to move the ball away from top-order batsmen, and not only did Bangladesh take notice of it, but they came up with a sound counter-measure.
Needing 215 to win, they knew they required a good start to their innings. And so they surprised the opposition by promoting the right-handed Liton Das, who then hammered 43 off only 19 balls to break the game wide open.
"We knew that they would start off with offspin," Tamim said after the game. "That was one of the reasons we promoted Liton to the top of the order. That plan worked for us and it didn't work for them."
Bangladesh ransacked 74 runs from the first six overs, with the loss of only one wicket. With such a strong foundation set, they played out the middle overs sensibly and then added the final flourish and won with two balls to spare.
"It was a very big total, 215," Tamim said. "I felt that everyone believed that if we have a very good first six overs and then if we batted smartly in the middle overs, anything can happen. This was the talk, and it paid off. Liton and I had a fantastic first six overs, and then the way Mushi, Soumya and Riyad [Mahmudullah] batted in the middle overs, it was brilliant. Our top six batsmen did all the hard work.
"This win means a lot for us, especially chasing down 200-plus. We have never done this in the past, and you get confidence from it. And now I hope we can come back from our bad patch of the last few months."
For Sri Lanka, the move to attack with Dananjaya in the opening overs may seem like a misstep in hindsight, but the captain Dinesh Chandimal felt striving for early wickets was the best strategy on a pitch that he thought was tailor-made for batting.
"When defending any total, you need to get early wickets. That's what we were hoping to do, but were unable to pull it off. As a bowling unit, we didn't get that breakthrough early on, and finally that's what cost us. And in the end it was too good wicket for the batters."
"You can't say that [it was a mistake to bowl Dananjaya in the powerplays]. Yes, it didn't work out today, but he's our main spinner and one of our main wicket-taking options. That's why we bowl him, especially during the power play. If we could get a couple of wickets then that changes the game, but unfortunately it didn't work out that way."