As an avid cricket fan, I could not miss out on watching my home country play in the World Cup in my adopted city. It was also Kumar Sangakkara's 400th ODI game. My heart said Sri Lanka would win by 50 runs; my head said Sri Lanka would win by 2 wickets with an over to spare.
Sri Lanka as has been the case for the best part of 20 years.
Tillakaratne Dilshan started slowly but once he reached 50, he entertained fans with a wide range of strokes, including the famous 'Dilscoop'. And when given the ball he took two vital wickets, including that of Shakib Al Hasan.
I would have liked to see a better standard of catching. Bangladesh started the trend by dropping Lahiru Thirimanne in the first over, and it continued with Sri Lanka spilling a few chances later on.
Shakib Al Hasan against the Sri Lankan spinners. Having had the experience of playing at the MCG, Shakib was going to be the key to get to the target. He struggled initially and was cut into half by Dilshan. He then unleashed some powerful strokes to take 16 off Rangana Herath in the 29th over but he holed out for 46.
Rangana Herath flinging himself to his left to off his own bowling to stop a certain boundary. It was breathtaking as one usually doesn't associate him with such athleticism. Most were left questioning his age after the effort.
Sabbir Rahman, who was fielding near the fan zone, was given plenty of advice. Dimuth Karunaratne was a fan favorite and flashed a smile, which I am sure excited all the ladies in the crowd.
Kumar Sangakara is such a pure batsman and he delighted his fans in his 400th ODI. The way he stepped back and lofted a six over long-off was jaw-dropping. It landed a few inches over the boundary with such precision that only he can achieve.
The MCG had a good crowd of 30000 with all the lower decks packed. Sri Lanka had greater support if you would go on to count the flags. Sangakara's reception when he entered was amazing and so was the support from the Bangladesh fans when the runs flowed in the second innings. Overall, the atmosphere was fantastic, considering it was a working day.
This was a contest between the Lankan lions and Bangladesh tigers and there were plenty of zoo animal costumes on show. Some may have confused a lion with a monkey or even a reptile. And as with any Sri Lankan game, there were a lot of Malinga wigs on show.
There was not one but two sets of papare bands, which kept the crowd entertained. The biggest cheers were when the PA system played Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi songs. There was a rather amusing obstacle-course race where people in the main sponsor's costumes had to compete to win the prize during mid-innings. Thus, we had the pleasure of seeing a human in a TV costume go through catching and fielding drills.
The game for the large part was one-sided. However, the support for both sides was wonderful. The low point of the game was fielding, but it did not dim the batting, which was on show, and Sri Lanka's bowling.
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