Mahmudullah brilliance helps Bangladesh seal thriller vs Sri Lanka to enter Nidahas Trophy final
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Mahmudullah brilliance helps Bangladesh seal thriller vs Sri Lanka to enter Nidahas Trophy final

Kusal Perera and Thisara Perera’s fifties went in vain as Bangladesh secured a tense two-wicket win with one ball to spare thanks to Mahmudullah’s brilliance to enter the final of the Nidahas Trophy.

cricket Updated: Mar 16, 2018 23:48 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, Colombo
Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh,Mahmudullah,Shakib Al Hasan
Bangladesh will meet India in Sunday’s final of the Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series after Mahmudullah blasted 43 not out off 18 balls to secure a thrilling two-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in an ill-tempered match on Friday. (AP)

At 137/5 in 18 overs, chasing a target of 160, it seemed Bangladesh had thrown away the advantage after Tamim Iqbal’s 50. However, Mahmudullah, who had stepped down from captaincy following the return of Shakib Al Hasan, gave Bangladesh hope with some lusty blows. With 12 needed off the last over bowled by Isuru Udana, two run-outs increased the pressure. (HIGHLIGHTS)

To add to the drama, a furious Shakib called his players back after Mustafizur Rahman was run-out with Bangladesh needing 12 off 4 balls. Shakib was apparently unhappy that the umpires did not call two head-high deliveries no-balls. After a five-minute hold-up, the players returned. On the third ball, Mahmudullah stretched out to slam a boundary over extra cover. The fourth ball saw Kusal Perera missing a chance to run out Mahmdullah. (SCORES)

Mahmudullah then hoicked a full-length delivery over deep mid-wicket to spark off delirious celebrations in the Bangladesh camp as they won the match by two wickets and one ball to spare to enter the final of the Nidahas Trophy 2018 tri-series.

Story of two recoveries

The clash between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at the R Premadasa stadium on Friday was a story of two contrasting fortunes. For the hosts, Kusal Perera (61) and Thisara Perera (58) helped Sri Lanka recover from 53/5 to 159/7. In contrast, Bangladesh just managed to recover after Tamim Iqbal had laid a platform with his fifth fifty.

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Sri Lanka’s final score from their disastrous start owed much to the Perera duo of Kusal and Thisara, who slammed their 10th and first fifties in a sixth wicket stand of 97. Chasing 160, Bangladesh lost Liton Das (0) and Sabbir Rahman (13) in quick succession but Tamim batted with confidence.

Tamim hits 50 but SL fight

Giving Tamim support was Mushfiqur Rahim, who had hit two consecutive fifties in the tournament. The wicketkeeper-batsman continued his great form by starting off with two boundaries. Tamim showed intent after hitting a couple of boundaries by dancing down the track to Akila Dananjaya and then depositing him for a six over long off. The Bangladesh opener repeated the dose in the 12th over to reach his fifth fifty.

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However, the game changed in the 13th over when Rahim (28) chipped left-arm orthodox spinner Amila Aponso to extra cover. In the next over, Tamim (50) edged Danushka Gunathilaka to the keeper as Sri Lanka fought back. But they could not hold off Mahmudullah.

Disaster for Sri Lanka

Before the toss, Bangladesh received a big boost when Shakib was declared fit for the game. The star all-rounder, who was out for a month due to finger injury, came out to lead the side and he chose to bowl.

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The captain made his presence felt when struck in the third over as Danushka Gunathilaka (4) top-edged a lofted shot to be caught at long-on by Sabbir Rahman. Mustafizur Rahman got Mendis (11) as he miscued a pull to short-mid wicket.

Sri Lanka continued to lose wickets and were in dire straits at 53/5 but Kusal and Thisara seized the initiative to hit 106 runs in the last 10 overs. However, they were to be denied by some inspired play from Mahmudullah.

First Published: Mar 16, 2018 18:54 IST