Tamim Iqbal © AFP
Tamim Iqbal © AFP

Bangladesh managed to edge past hosts Sri Lanka to set up final clash against India of the Nidahas Trophy 2018. In a roller-coaster 6th T20I, the visitors managed to held on their nerves and beat the hosts by 2 wickets. The introduction of Shakib Al Hasan to the squad probably lifted Bangladesh’s spirits across all departments. Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah were the stars in Bangladesh’s chase.

Sri Lanka had came out to bowl with momentum on their side. Akila Dananjaya triggered an early stutter for Bangladesh. He first got rid of Liton Das for a duch, and then got Sabbir Rahman stumped for 13. Tamim was joined by Mushfiqur Rahim at this stage.

Unfazed by the target, the pair kept on taking singles to ease off scoreboard pressure. Tamim, in particular, was aggressive, using his feet against the spinners. They added 50 runs in 40 deliveries without any fuss. With a single towards mid wicket, Mushfiqur became the third Bangladeshi to score 1,000 T20I runs. In a bid to up the ante, he then handed a catch to Thisara Perera at extra cover off Amila Aponso. Tamim fell soon after registering his fifth T20I fifty. Danushka Gunathilaka getting the crucial breakthrough.

With required run rate creeping up, Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah found themselves in the middle. Jeevan Mendis came into the attack and produced instant result. Trying to thwack Mendis straight down the ground, Sarkar managed to edge the ball to the ‘keeper for 10.   

Mahmudullah was joined by skipper Shakib. Mahmudullah kept his calm and picked boundaries between singles that kept required rate in check. Shakib, caught in two minds, was dismissed by Isuru Udana.

Mahmudullah kept Bangladesh’s hopes alive, taking the equation to 12 off 7. Then a brain-fade moment saw Mehedi Hasan run himself out to an unnecessary single, trying to retain strike when the sensible thing would have been to give the strike to Mahmudullah.

Mustafizur Rahman swung and missed two bouncers. Then he got run out as Mahmudullah scampered for a bye. This was followed by high-intensity drama, with a livid Shakib calling his players off the field.

When play eventually resumed, Mahmudullah finished off the match with a four, a two and a six. He finished on 43 not out from 18 balls.

Earlier, Sri Lanka were lifted to 159 for 7, thanks to knocks by Kusal and Thisara Perera. The Pereras added 97 for the sixth wicket. Kusal reached his 10th and Thisara Perera his maiden T20I fifty during the innings.

Brief score:

Sri Lanka 159 for 7 (Kusal Perera 61, Thisara Perera 58; Mustafizur Rahman 2 for 39) lost to Bangladesh 160 for 8 in 19.5 overs (Tamim Iqbal 50, Mahmudullah 43*; Akila Dananjaya 2 for 39 ) by 2 wickets with 1 ball to spare.

Man of the Match: Mahmudullah.