Fifties from Asalanka, Rajapaksa power Sri Lanka to a five-wicket win

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24 Oct 2021 | 03:14 PM
authorcricket.com staff

Fifties from Asalanka, Rajapaksa power Sri Lanka to a five-wicket win

Charith Asalanka’s unbeaten knock of 80 helps Sri Lanka register a comprehensive win in their first match of the Super 12s against Bangladesh in Sharjah

A fifth-wicket partnership of 86-runs between Charith Asalaka and Bahunka Rajapaksa propelled the Sri Lanka side to a five-wicket win over Bangladesh in the afternoon encounter at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. While Asalanka anchored the innings with an unbeaten 80 off 49 deliveries, Rajapaksa scored a quickfire 53 off 31 deliveries studded with three boundaries and three sixes to guide Sri Lanka to a famous win. 

Chasing 172, Sri Lanka got off to a horrendous start as they lost Kusal Perara in the first over of the innings. Despite the stutter, Asalanka took the attack to the opposition with a flurry of boundaries in the powerplay. Along with Pathum Nissanka, the left-hander attacked the spinners in the field restrictions and amassed 54 runs.

The duo stitched a crucial 69-run partnership for the second wicket before the right-hander was dismissed for 24 by Shakib Al Hasan. The left-arm spinner weaved his magic in the middle overs and picked up two wickets in the ninth over to derail the batting unit of the side. With three wickets down, the onus of the side relied heavily on Asalanka and Wanindu Hasanranga. However, Hasaranga was dismissed early by Mohammad Saifuddin for six, trying to attack the opposition bowling unit and clear the boundary rope.

With the side reeling at 79 for the loss of four wickets, Rajapaksa walked into number six to steady the innings. Along with Asalanka, he stitched a vital partnership for the fifth wicket and kept the scoreboard ticking in the middle overs. One of the significant causes of concern for the Bangladesh side was the dismal performance by the fielders. While the ground fielding was sloppy, Liton Das dropped two catches in the back end of the innings to give the two batter crucial chances. 

The birthday boy, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, targeted the shorter boundaries and smashed two huge sixes off the first two deliveries to put the bowler, Saifuddin, under tremendous pressure. The left-hander scored a destructive half-century (53 off 31) to help Sri Lanka inch closer to the win. Despite his wicket, Asalanka powered the team over the line with a scintillating 80 off 49 studded with five boundaries and five massive sixes. The five-wicket win, chasing 172 in the opening game of their Super 12s, helped them record their highest successful run chase of the T20 World Cup.

Earlier in the day, Bangladesh started the innings in a commanding fashion by smashing 12 runs off the third over after being asked to bat first. However, two quick wickets dented the batting unit before Mohammed Naim, and Mushfiqur Rahim stitched a vital 73-run partnership for the third wicket. The duo scored contrasting half-centuries to propel the side to a massive total of 171/4 runs in the first innings.

While Naim anchored the innings with a valuable contribution of 62 off 52 deliveries, Mushfiqur scored a destructive 57 off 37 balls to give the side much-needed impetus in the back end of the innings. With a wealth of experience at the international level, the right-handed batter displayed an array of strikes all around the ground to enthrall the fans and notch up his maiden half-century in the T20 World Cup.

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Sri Lanka vs BangladeshICC World Twenty20, 2021Sri LankaBangladeshCharith AsalankaBhanuka RajapaksaShakib Al HasanMushfiqur RahimWanindu Hasaranga

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