20 March 2012
Consecutive wins against world cup finalists Sri Lanka and India have placed Bangladesh in the final of the Asia Cup for the first time in their cricket history. After defeating world champion India by 5 wickets on last Friday, Bangladesh defeated Sri Lanka by the same margin at Sher E Bangla Stadium in Mirpur today. A spirited Bangladesh restricted Sri Lanka to 232 runs in 49.5 overs, but were presented with a revised target of 212 runs in 40 overs according to D/L method after a rain delay. Bangladesh reached the victory target despite losing some early wickets with 17 balls to spare.
Bangladesh started the match knowing a victory would put them in Thursday's final at the expense of India and the bowlers provided an excellent platform for the batsmen by restricting Sri Lanka to a modest 232. Nazmul Hossain was the star of the show with 3 top order wickets that dented Sri Lankaâ€™s hope of posting a big total. Sri Lanka never recovered from the early loss and despite some fine batting from Chamar Kapugedera and Upul Tharanga could only manage a below par score on a good surface.
Bangladesh's reply did not get the best possible start as they lost out-of-form Nazimuddin in the second over of the match. In complete contrast, left handed opener Tamim Iqbal played with complete dominance on his 23rd birthday and kept the scoreboard ticking with some fine stroke play.
Bangladesh's top order failed to provide adequate support to Tamim, and both Jahurul and skipper Mushfiq fell in quick succession to leave the game wide open at 40 for 3. Bangladesh started the fight back through the familiar Shakib Al Hasan who again raised his game under pressure and shared a 76 run partnership with Tamim Iqbal.
When Shakib (56) and Tamim (59) were batting in the middle, Bangladesh were heading towards an easy victory. The situation spiced up again when both of them fell in quick succession with 135 runs on board leaving last recognized pair Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah to rescue Bangladesh's hope of reaching their first ever Asia Cup final. The pair played sensibly and ensured victory with a commanding 77 run unbeaten partnership to take Bangladesh to a new height. Bangladeshâ€™s find of the season Nasir Hossain scored 36 from 61 deliveries while Mahmudullah scored a brisk 32 from 33 deliveries.
The final match between Bangladesh and Pakistan will be played on 22nd March at the same venue.