Sri Lanka and Bangladesh faced each other in an important Super Four fixture in the Asia Cup 2023 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. It was imperative for Bangladesh to win the game after losing to Pakistan in their opening encounter in the Super Four stage.
Opting to bowl first, Bangladesh pulled things back after Sri Lanka reached 108/1 on a slowish track. Kusal Mendis scored a patient fifty but was dismissed after reaching the landmark. However, it was Sadeera Samarawickrama, who stole the show with one of the best innings on a tough track to bat on.
The 28-year-old took calculated risks and played a belligerent innings of 93 in just 72 balls. He hit eight fours and two sixes during his knock and helped the home side post a fighting total of 257/9 in their 50 overs. The Bangladesh pacers were expensive as no one from the troika of Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, and Hasan Mahmud went for under six runs an over. However, they picked up eight wickets among them, with Taskin and Hasan bagging three each. The spinners didn’t get a wicket but were very economical, conceding just 89 runs in the 23 overs they bowled.
In reply, Bangladesh got off to a solid start as they lost their first wicket at a score of 55 in 11.1 overs. However, they were in a spot of bother soon enough as they slumped to 83/4. Mushfiqur Rahim and Towhid Hridoy resurrected the innings with a 72-run partnership. The wicketkeeper-batter departed for 29 off 48 balls before Hridoy got to a half-century off 73 balls.
The 22-year-old played a fine knock of 97 in 82 balls before Maheesh Theekshana sent him back to the hut. Bangladesh’s lower order couldn’t bail them out as they lost wickets in quick succession. The last-wicket partnership between Nasum Ahmed and Hasan Mahmud gave hopes of a miraculous win with a 20-run partnership off 12 balls. However, the former was dismissed by Matheesha Pathirana as the home side won by 21 runs. With this win, Bangladesh’s chances of qualification are out of their hands as they will have to beat India by a comprehensive margin and hope a number of results fall in place.
Losing skipper Shakib Al Hasan said:
Well, I thought it was a good toss to win at the start. We didn’t bowl particularly well. There was help for the bowlers but we didn’t get the wickets but credit goes to Sri Lanka, the way they handled the new ball. We came back really strong but the way Sadeera played, he took the game away from us. 260 on that wicket, we needed a good partnership at the start. We got 50 runs but we needed 80-100 run partnership to chase this because there was help for the bowler, pacers and spinners. Our top four didn’t get enough runs and we didn’t bowl well at the start. [On Hridoy] He batted really well. He played LPL here so he brought that confidence. He played really well. If he could have batted a little longer, but then there are always a lot of ifs and buts. But Sri Lanka played better than us which is why they won. Seamers were a little on the expensive side but they also picked up all the wickets so you cannot complain.
Winning skipper Dasun Shanaka said:
The Bangladesh bowlers bowled really well, especially Hasan Mahmud so I thought if I hit the same areas it would work well so I stuck to my basics. When there are no frontline bowlers someone needs to chip in and today was my day. Maheesh wasn’t able to bowl up front but at the end, Maheesh bowled well and in the end, the result matters. Our players, especially Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama played really well, read the wicket very well.
POTM Sadeera Samarawickrama said:
When I went to bat, it was not easy to bat on so my plan was just to give the momentum to the team, play my natural game and back myself. My plan was to play as late as possible. I was waiting for the ball to come to me and I did not go forward. I was in rhythm and continued my basic things. I was trying to bat deep and my plan was to get the 250 for the team because I knew the wicket was going to help the spinners. Told my partners also that they need to take risks at the end to get past 250 because then the bowlers can defend that total.