Charith Asalanka: ‘I backed myself to play my natural game’

Sri Lanka

The hero of Sri Lanka’s incredible run chase in the T20 World Cup Super 12s match against Bangladesh, Charith Asalanka, says that the freedom to play his natural game was the secret to his match-winning knock.

Asalanka blasted an unbeaten 80 off just 49 balls to power Sri Lanka past a stiff target of 172 against the Tigers in Sharjah.

Having come to the fore during the lost home series against South Africa, Asalanka now threatens to be one of the breakout stars of the ICC T20 World Cup.

He felt the pitch was true enough to play his shots from ball one, and his innings reflected that mindset.

A delighted Asalanka said after the match: “It’s happy to score a winning knock for my country. I am very happy right now. My friends back home will be very happy right now, they always back me. When I faced the first ball, it looked like a good pitch and I backed myself to play my natural game.”

Charith Asalanka shares the praise

Asalanka gave credit to another Sri Lanka youngster who made a big impact on the chase in Bhanuka Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa was the first to stick around with Asalanka for a meaningful period of time, stroking 53 off 31 balls to support the man of the match.

“Rajapaksa played a brilliant knock and he changed the momentum. I want to keep it up and look forward to do the same for my country in the upcoming games,” Asalanka added.

Bangladesh skipper gutted

Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah felt his batsmen had done well to put 171 runs on the board and was at a loss to explain the defeat.

In assessing the defeat, Mahmudullah said: “I thought 171 could be defended. Liton and Naim gave us a very good start. Naim held the innings. Mushfiq played a brilliant innings. We were in the game till the tenth over. But things went wrong for us after that. We will correct that in the next game. We watched the IPL games and thought an extra spinner would help. The spinners bowled well but we missed a couple of chances. This game will boost up our batting unit and we are looking forward to the next game.”