Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bangladesh reach historic final

Bangladesh stormed into their first-ever Asia Cup final with a rousing five-wicket win against Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Tuesday. A cool Nasir Hossain brought up the winning runs with a boundary to bring the whole country to its feet as they chased down the revised target of 212 runs in 40 overs with 17 balls to spare under D/L method. 

Heavy rain delayed Bangladesh's innings – which was reduced to 40 overs. Earlier, Sri Lanka were all out for a below-par 232 in 49.5 overs.

The Tigers get another chance to complete the fairytale when they play Pakistan in Thursday's grand final.

Rank outsiders Bangladesh's route to the final saw them slay India in an epic run-chase and nearly defeat Pakistan in the tournament opening match.

The hosts recovered magnificently having slumped to 40-3 early after stalwarts Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan put the side back on course with a 76-run fourth-wicket stand

Tamim scored 59 off 57 balls while Shakib made 56 off 46 balls.

Tamim fell trying to cut a shortish ball of Sachithra Senanayake but was caught at point. Tamim hit nine fours his 57-ball knock.

He was soon joined by Shakib (46-ball 56), who after cutting Sachithra Senanayake's first ball for a four, attempted to repeat the shot off the second delivery but was trapped lbw. He hammered seven fours during his knock.

After they fell in quick succession to leave Bangladesh on 136-5, Nasir (36) and Mahmudullah (32) carried the team home with an unbeaten 77-run sixth wicket stand.

Pakistan and India and Bangladesh all finished with two wins. But Bangladesh edged out India having won the head-to-head tie.

Sri Lanka are out of contention having lost all their previous games.

Nuwan Kulasekara made the early breakthrough for Sri Lanka removing Nazimuddin after the batsman played a loose stroke from the crease and inside-edged onto the stumps.

The home side also lost Jahurul Islam (2) who was caught at midwicket off Suranga Lakmal in the sixth over and next over Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim was bowled for 1 by Kulasekara.

Bangladesh kept taking wickets when it mattered most after winning the toss and reduced the Lankans to 32 for 3 at one stage.

Once the hosts rattled Sri Lanka with three big early wickets, they never allowed them to break free.

Outstanding Mashrafe Bin Mortaza bowled Lasith Malinga (10) with a slower before Suranga Lakmal was run out in the final over of the innings.

An otherwise lacklustre Shahadat Hossain claimed his wicket when he had Upul Tharanga (48) edge a full away swinging delivery behind to wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim.

Shakib Al Hasan struck two in quick succession trapping Nuwan Kulasekara (1) in front after inducing an edge from Ferveez Maharoof (3) through to Rahim.

Abdur Razzak took out top-scorer Chamara Kapugedera (62) who smashed a full delivery inside-out but Shakib took a sharp low catch at extra cover.

Razzak also snared Lahiru Thirimanne who was back in the hutch just two short of what would have been a fine half-century. He was out in a rather unfortunate fashion, stumped by wicketkeeper Rahim as the ball ricocheted off his pads and went back onto the stumps.

Nazmul Hossain, playing in place of injured Shafiul Islam, was all over the Lankans earlier, taking 3-22 in his first 6 overs.

Tilakaratne Dilshan (19) was the last big fish to go. He was cramped up for room and only managed a thickish inside edge back onto his stumps.

Nazmul also claimed the big wickets of Mahela Jayawardene (5) and Kumar Sangakkara (4).

He got Sangakkara with a full delivery outside off, which the former skipper square drove in the air straight to the Nazimuddin at cover in the 8th over.

The medium pacer got the first breakthrough when he sneaked one through a big gap between bat and pad of Jayawardene (5) in the 4th over 

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