Psllivecricket t20 world cup 2022 Asia Cup 2022: Sri Lanka eliminate sloppy Bangladesh in match of … – The Indian Express

Asia Cup 2022: Sri Lanka eliminate sloppy Bangladesh in match of … – The Indian Express

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The end was anticlimactic for a wildly emotional match. Ashita Fernando and Maheesh Theekshana scampered for a two that brought Sri Lanka within a run of beating Bangladesh and sealing a Super Fours spot. That’s when the umpire signalled a no-ball, robbing an occasion for spontaneous celebration. The moment they realised they had won, Fernando and Maheesh hugged each other and waved frenziedly at the dressing room. The teammates came rushing, leaping and punching the air, gesturing to the Sri Lanka supporters to raise the volume level.
Bangladesh supporters looked utterly shocked and in utter disbelief of how they had lost a match they had no business of losing. The bowler, Mahedi Hasan, crashed to the turf, beside a disconsolate Mushfiqur Rahim. Captain Shakib Al Hasan smiled a wistful smile — he knew that in the end, it was his team’s sloppiness that had cost them the game. Dropped catches, no-balls (4) and wides (eight) were to neutralise the fighting spirit they demonstrated.
At several junctures, the match seemed drifting away from Sri Lanka, from conceding 45 runs in the last four overs and letting Bangladesh end up with 183 runs, then losing four wickets for 32 runs after a breezy start, to Kusal Mendis playing a mindless upper cut to the palms of the third man fielder and Dasun Shanaka running himself out in an equally reckless moment of indiscretion. Nerves jangled, emotions poured out, as the match headed to a thrilling climax.
Sri Lanka required 25 off the last two overs. Shanaka’s lusty blows chopped the equation to 14 off eight balls before he got run out. Bangladesh thought that was their match point. Instead, Fernando struck two boundaries to reduce the target to three off four balls to re-induce panic among Bangladesh’s ranks.
Thus ended an emotionally-charged match. The hostility between the two teams — flared by the press conferences in the build-up to the game when members of both teams berated each other — was evident in their celebration at the fall of wickets.
Chamika Karunaratne leapt furiously, punching the air in anger when he ejected Mushfiqur Rahim, their chief antagonist, with a ball that burst off the surface like a firecracker. Sri Lankan fans began to impersonate Rahim’s signature Nagin dance, a casual celebration-gig now symbolic of Bangladesh’s arrogance.
Wanindu Hasaranga displayed Neymar’s ‘Hang Loose’ celebration when he nixed Mahedi Hasan Miraz, who had injected Bangladesh the early impetus with a flurry of powerful strokes, with a googly. Fernando channelled his inner Dale Steyn when he winkled out his maiden T20 wicket, that of Sabbir Rahman; and Theekshana blew kisses at Shakib, who was beginning to push the pedal after a lethargic start. Later, Ebadot Hussan unfurled a Sheldon Cottrell salute when he exited Charith Asalanka and Pathum Nissanka in his first-ever over in a T20 International.
Similarly, whenever a Bangladesh batsman struck a boundary, the crowd – Bangladesh supporters easily outnumbered Sri Lankans – would go so wild that the bouncers at the gates had to interfere and threaten to expel them when they leaned dangerously close to the railings of the second tier. Not that it would dilute their enthusiasm, the heat could not expend their energy. Fielders growled when they took a catch, batsmen cursed themselves when they floundered, captains showered the erring fielders and bowlers with choice words. The contest was unhealthily tense at times, though nothing terse emerged.
Bad blood
The Bangladesh-Sri Lanka rivalry might not be the largest or oldest subcontinental rivalry – never would it acquire the aura or stature of India-Pakistan – but it is the noisiest one around, marked by genuine loathing among the fans.
Imagine the emotions that fluctuated when Mendis was caught behind off Mahedi, only to survive as the bowler had overstepped. Bangladesh were deliriously celebrating one moment and weeping the next. And the opposite set of emotions that the Sri Lanka supporters were experiencing. Ebadot, too, endured the extremes of emotion, He grabbed two wickets in his first over, a third in the next. Little then was he aware that he would be plundered for 22 runs in his nine-ball third over. Or his 17-run last over would turn costly.
Sri Lanka’s fans were never the loudest, but during the last few boundaries of the Bangladesh innings, they were totally muted. Bangladesh batsmen were ripping their best-laid plans apart. It began with Mossadek Hussain smoking Hasaranga for a brace of thunderous boundaries. The first — a dismissive bludgeon over his head — was a statement of intent that they are unencumbered to take on the finest of Lanka’s bowlers; that they will walk the talk, defend the trash talk that Sri Lanka “does not have a world-class bowler” as former Bangladesh captain Khaled Mahmood had remarked.
The problem with Sri Lanka’s bowlers was that they were not bereft of quality — Hasaranga and Theekshana bowled well in patches — but could not sustain the intensity throughout the 20 overs. The scales of the contest were tilted towards them till the 16th over, but in the next four, they bled 45 runs, including a horror 17-run last over from Fernando. But Fernando redeemed himself with 10 runs off three balls.
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