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Sport Asalanka blasts Sri Lanka past Bangladesh

18:50  24 october  2021
18:50  24 october  2021 Source:   skysports.com

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Charith Asalanka hit a blistering 80 not out from 49 balls to take Sri Lanka to a five-wicket win over Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup.

The 24-year-old left-hander came out to bat in the first over of the Sri Lanka's chase and proceeded to thump five fours and five sixes in his match-winning knock, which was also his first half-century in T20 internationals.

Charith Asalanka made a blistering unbeaten 80 to take Sri Lanka to victory © Associated Press Charith Asalanka made a blistering unbeaten 80 to take Sri Lanka to victory

Naim Sheikh (62 from 52 balls) and Mushfiqur Rahim (57no from 37) played a crucial role for Bangladesh with the bat as they posted 171-4 and when Shakib Al Hasan claimed two wickets in an over to leave Sri Lanka 79-4, that looked like a winning total.

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However, Bhanuka Rajapaksa (53 from 31) joined Asalanka and the pair put on 86 for the fifth wicket to put Sri Lanka on the brink of a victory, that was sealed by Asalanka with seven balls to spare.

Having been asked to bat first, Bangladesh made a good start with the openers putting on 40 for the first wicket before Litton Das was dismissed by Lahiru Kumara (1-29), after which words were exchanged, leading to the pair ending up face-to-face at the non-striker's end.

Once tempers cooled, it was Sri Lanka who made the next significant blow as Chamika Karunaratne (1-12) bowled Shakib Al Hasan as Bangladesh's star all-rounder tried to flick the ball legside and lost his leg stump.

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Mushfiqur came in and was quickly about his business, launching a pair of sixes over the legside, and with Naim going along nicely at the other end, the pair were able to put on 73 for the third wicket and put Bangladesh in a position to really kick on at the death.

They did just that thanks to Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah (10no from five) and 171 appeared a strong total at the halfway stage.

It looked even better when Nasum Ahmed bowled Kusal Perera with the fourth ball of the innings but Asalanka came out to join Pathum Nissanka (24 from 21) and by the end of the powerplay, Sri Lanka were in the ascendancy.

A double strike from Shakib (2-17) in the ninth over slowed Sri Lanka's progress and when Mohammad Saifuddin removed Wanindu Hasaranga in the next, Bangladesh were right back in the game.

Asalanka was unaffected though and after a couple of overs to regroup with Rajapaksa, the big shots started to return, the required rate gradually came down and when Rajapaksa hammered two sixes and two fours off Saifuddin in the 16th over, they needed just a run-a-ball.

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Rajapaksa fell soon after bringing up his half-century but the game was won later in the same over as a thick edge from Asalanka ran away to the fence.

WHO STARRED?

Naim Sheikh - 62 from 52 balls might not be the most explosive of knocks, especially in the modern game, but it was just what was required for Bangladesh. Naim kept the scoreboard moving with six boundaries while also providing the stability needed for the Tigers to set the platform for their late-inning assault.

Mushfiqur Rahim - the diminutive wicketkeeper-batter is now 34 but showed he has still got plenty to offer Bangladesh for years to come with a superb unbeaten 57 from 37 balls. He took the pressure off Naim with a couple of big hits early in his innings and kept going once the opener had departed, reaching his half-century from 32 balls to take his team to a competitive total.

Charith Asalanka - in at No 3 after just four balls, the left-hander played a fabulous knock to help Sri Lanka overcome that early blow and then, after the loss of three quick wickets midway through the innings, he kept his cool, picked his moments to take on the big shots and made sure he was there at the end.

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Shakib Al Hasan - an off day with the bat but Bangladesh were again indebted to Shakib for helping them take the game as deep as they did. Sri Lanka were cruising at 71-1 after eight overs of the chase before the left-arm spinner bowled Patham Nissanka and then Avishka Fernando to bring his side back into the game. He had 2-6 from his first two overs and perhaps it might have been a different outcome had he been brought back a little sooner, rather than when Asalanka and Rajapaksa were both well set and the game was essentially done.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa - coming in at 79-4, Rajapaksa sensibly allowed himself to work the singles for a couple of overs before springing to life with a six off Afif Hossain. He was dropped later in the over but made the most of his luck, getting to his fifty from 28 balls and it was back-to-back sixes followed up by two fours off Mohammad Saifuddin in the 16th over that all-but ended the game as a contest.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Monday's solitary game sees Kyle Coetzer's Scotland get under way in Group 2 as they take on Afghanistan in Sharjah from 2.30pm on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event.

Bangladesh are in action again on Wednesday as they face England in Abu Dhabi, coverage begins at 10.30am on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event, while next up for Sri Lanka is a clash with Australia in Dubai - watch that one from 2.30pm, Thursday on Sky Sports Cricket again and Main Event.

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