Bangladesh secure Asia Cup final berth


Bangladesh produced a brilliant all-round performance to book their ticket into the final of the Asia Cup thanks to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

Bangladesh produced a brilliant all-round performance to book their ticket into the final of the Asia Cup thanks to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

Although the home side ended the tournament level on eight points with India, it was their five-wicket win over the world champions last Friday that gave them the edge, and a place in the final on Thursday, when they will face Pakistan.

After the tournament hosts restricted Sri Lanka to 232 all out, they chased down a rain-revised 212 with 17 balls to spare, leaving the Sri Lankans without a win throughout the tourney in Dhaka.

Nazmul Hossain's three for 32 helped dismiss the Sri Lankans cheaply at the Shere Bangla National Stadium and, following a near two-hour downpour, Bangladesh eventually had the chance to begin their chase.

The Duckworth-Lewis system handed them the revised target, but the rain delay also meant they had just 40 overs in which to get the runs.

The moisture under the covers appeared to give Sri Lanka the edge when play resumed as it didn't take long for Lasith Malinga to swing some yorkers into to Mohammed Nazimuddin. It was, however, Nuwan Kulasekara who got rid of the opener, who tried to force the ball through the off-side, but chopped it onto his stumps.

Jaharul Islam then threw his wicket away by going on the hook to Suranga Lakmal. Chamara Kapugedara was at hand for the catch. Tamim Iqbal was in remarkable form, although in danger of losing partners at too regular intervals. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim's brief stay saw the Bangladeshis reduced to 40 for three.

Hope was, however, not lost as Iqbal was joined by the in-form Shakib Al Hasan, who after watching Iqbal reach 50, followed suit by recording his second half-ton of the tournament.

With the pair looking comfortable in the chase, Sri Lanka pulled it back by dismissing the duo within four overs of each other, with Sachithra Senanayake the chief destroyer. First it was Iqbal who cut the ball straight to Lahiru Thirimanne at gully before Shakib was trapped lbw plumb in front by the off-spinner.

Mohammad Mahmudullah (32 not out) and Nasir Hossain (36 not out) then took some time to consolidate, but ultimately it was their unbeaten 77-run partnership that took Bangladesh home.

The Sri Lankans, successful in the recent tri-series in Australia, were left to wonder why their form had deserted them throughout the tournament.

Earlier, three quick wickets from Nazmul Hossain that had the visitors reeling at 32 for three inside the first 10 overs before Kapugedera (62) and Thirimanne (48) put their side back on track.

The pair added 88 for the fourth wicket, after which Kapugedera and Upul Tharanga (48) orchestrated a further 49 for the fifth.

All-rounders Farveez Maharoof and Nuwan Kulasekara failed to make a positive impact with the bat as spinner Shakib Al Hasan struck at regular intervals during the batting Powerplay.

The tail-enders – Senanayake and Malinga – weighed in with 19 and 10 respectively, but Sri Lanka finished at least 50 runs shy of what they should have reached on a relatively flat pitch.