Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka by 137 runs in the opening match of the Asia Cup on Saturday. Bangladesh registered their biggest ODI win away from home. Mushfiqur Rahim’s sublime 144 led Bangladesh to 261 runs.
With runs on the board, Bangladesh bowlers skittled the Sri Lankan wickets. The Lankan side fell from 32-3 to all out for 124 runs. Thisara Perera was the top scorer for the Lankans with 29 runs.
Tamim Iqbal became the talk of the match after he came in to bat with a broken wrist. He came in at no.11 to give Mushfiqur company for the last wicket after he suffered a blow to his wrist in the second over. Batting with one hand and extra padding on his glove, he faced only one ball. Tamim’s injury meant Mushfiqur scored in boundaries – three fours and three sixes – to take the Tigers from a modest total to a competitive one.
Opener Liton Das and experienced Shakib Al Hasan were back in the pavilion in the first over of their innings. With two wickets gone in the first over, Tamim Iqbal returned to the dressing room with a wrist fracture in the second over. Bangladesh were in trouble early on. Mushfiqur who came in at 4, put on a fighting stand along with Mohammad Mithun who scored 63 runs. The 131 run stand between the two pulled Bangladesh from the brink of a collapse. Even after the fall of Mithun, Mushfiqur continued to bat efficiently with the tail-enders. He looked for boundaries at the start of the overs and for singles off the last deliveries. He played strategically, rotating the strike well and ensuring he faced most balls. Just like his hundred, he built the innings with steady grace ensuring the wickets didn’t fall too quickly.
After the tremendous batting effort, the Bangla bowlers produced a thrilling victory. They bundled the Lankans in 36 overs. They picked wickets at regular intervals as the Lankans struggled to build one meaningful partnership. Mashrafe, Mustafizur, and Mehidy Hasan picked up two wickets each. Shakib, Rubel, and Mosaddek Hossain also accounted for one wicket each.
The Sri Lankan side was marred by poor performances in all departments of the game. They dropped at least four catches – including those of Mushfiqur and Mithun. The catches cost them the game. They exhibited poor decision-making skills especially when Dhananjaya de Silva wasted their only review, which could potentially have saved for Kusal Perera later on.
Lasith Malinga’s bowling performance was overshadowed by Bangladesh’s blistering batting. The only silver lining in Sri Lanka’s dismal performance, in his comeback game after a year-long absence, Malinga exhibited that he still has it in him. He struck twice in the first over and finished with figures of 4 for 23 in 10 overs. His clinical performance showed the promise of the revival of the old Slinga Malinga. Sri Lankans will hope that he delivers the same way when they take on Afghanistan on Monday.