Tillakaratne Dilshan is to Sri Lanka what Virender Sehwag is to India. Both are talismanic all-rounders who can strike in the blink of an eye. After Bangladesh caved in against Sehwag’s off-breaks on Wednesday, it was Dilshan who pulverized the minnows with an all-round performance.
The Lankan all-rounder backed his swashbuckling innings of 71 with three wickets to dump Bangladesh out of Asia Cup 2010. Chasing 312, Tamim Iqbal scored a fighting 51 off 53 deliveries, but the visitors fell short by 126 runs. After an early foray, the Bangladesh middle-order collapsed for the umpteenth time, fizzling out of the run chase.
Earlier, winning the toss proved twice lucky for Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara. Against Pakistan, they swung back with Lasith Malinga’s five-for as the Dambulla pitch helped lateral movement under lights. The plot unfolded nearly the same way on Friday, except that the Lankan openers fulfilled their roles to perfection.
Sri Lanka have prospered whenever Tillekaratne Dilshan has fired at the top. And Dilshan was in no mood to waste an opportunity to whip up a run fest against Bangladesh. The visitors got the message when he smashed Mashrafe Mortaza for four in the second ball of the day. He clobbered anything pitched full or short and Mortaza was once again punished over square leg for six that fetched the Lankan opener $1500.
Bangladesh’s plight worsened when runs started coming from both ends. Upul Tharanga piled on the Bangladeshi agony with his effortless strokeplay and the southpaw played some exquisite drives through cover. The mayhem could have been worse had Bangla skipper Shakib Al Hasan not broken the partnership. A change of pace did the trick as Dilshan returned a simple catch to Hasan. Soon after, a sharp catch by keeper Mushfiqur Rahim ended Tharanga’s reign.
But with the groundwork done, someone needed to carry the momentum. Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews and Chamara Kapugedera played useful cameos to help propel their team’s total.