Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh to record first Super-Four win in Asia Cup 2023

COLOMBO -Sadeera Samarawickrama’s blistering 93-run knock, followed by a combined bowling effort led Sri Lanka to a 21-run victory over Bangladesh in the eighth match of the ACC Men’s Asia Cup 2023 on Saturday. Set to chase 258, Bangla­desh could accumulate 236 runs before being bundled out in the penultimate over despite TowhidHridoys’s gutsy 82. Bangladesh openers Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mohammad Naim laid a sol­id foundation for the run chase with a brisk 55-run partnership but Dasun Shanaka struck twice in his successive overs to script Sri Lanka’s comeback as Bangladesh slipped to 60/2. 

Miraz scored a 29-ball 28 while Naim played a cautious 21-run knock in 46 deliveries. Bangladesh then coped two more blows to their run chase after ex­perienced batter Litton Das (15) and skipper Shakib Al Hasan (3) perished cheaply. With the visitors reeling at 83/4 in 18.5 overs, Hridoy put together an anchoring 72-run partnership with wicketkeeper batter Mushfiqur Rahim. 

The pair had stabilized Bangla­desh’s innings before Dasun Shanaka once again drew an important break­through, dismissing Mushfiqur in the 38th over. He scored 29 off 48 balls. Towhid Hridoy remained the top-scor­er for Bangladesh in their must-win Asia Cup 2023 fixture with a 97-ball 82 which featured seven boundaries and a six. Following his dismissal, Nasum and Hasan Mahmud kept Bangladesh in the hunt by scoring valuable runs at the backend but their heroics were not enough to guide their side to glory. 

Nasum scored a run-a-ball 15 while Mahmud scored 10 not out off seven de­liveries. For Sri Lanka, Dasun Shanaka, MaheeshTheekshana and Matheesha Pathirana bagged three wickets each while DunithWellalage made one scalp. The 21-run win over Bangladesh not only marked Sri Lanka’s first win in the Super-Four stage but also extended their unbeaten streak in the ODIs. Bangladesh are now on the verge of elimination. 

Put into bat first, Sri Lanka managed to put a commendable total on the board, courtesy of Sadeera Samarawickrama’s late fireworks and Kusal Mendis’s an­choring half-century. The home side had a shaky start to their innings as they lost their opener Dimuth Karunaratne (18) cheaply with 34 runs on the board in 5.3 overs. Mendis then joined opening bat­ter Pathum Nissanka in the middle and the pair anchored the innings with a sensible 74-run partnership which last­ed with Nissanka’s dismissal in the 24th over. Nissanka fell 10 runs short of his half-century, scoring 40 off 50 deliveries and hit five boundaries. 

Mendis also followed Nissanka back to the hut two overs later as Sri Lanka slipped to 117/3 in 26 overs. Sri Lanka then lost two more wickets in quick successions as Charith Asalanka (10) and Dhananjaya de Silva (six) walked back after making modest contribu­tions. With the home side reeling at 164/5 in the 38th over, Sadeera Sama­rawickrama was joined by his captain Dasun Shanaka and the pair scripted an astounding recovery by knitting a cru­cial 60-run partnership. The Sri Lankan captain scored a cautious 32-ball 24, which featured a boundary. Sadeera Sa­marawickrama smashed eight bound­aries and two sixes on his way to top score for Sri Lanka with a 72-ball 93. Right-arm pacers Hasan Mahmud and Taskin Ahmed led the bowling attack for Bangladesh in their must-win Asia Cup 2023 fixture with three wickets each, followed by Shoriful Islam’s two.

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