May 27, 2024

Sports Desk: Bangladesh’s aspiration to seal its first ever T20 bilateral series against Sri Lanka was ruined after their 28-run defeat to the visitors in the series deciding third and final T20 International at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium today.

Opener Kusal Mendis hit a brilliant 86 and pacer Nuwan Thushara complemented with career-best 5-20 including a hat-trick to deny Bangladesh the feat what they aspired. However this was their first bilateral series defeat in this format after 2022.

In this period they won four series against UAE, England, Afghanistan and Ireland and drew series against New Zealand.

Sri Lanka won the first match by three runs but Bangladesh leveled the series with an eight-wicket victory in the second game.

Kusal Mendis single-handedly drove the side to 174-6 and then Thushara, playing his first game in the series, ripped through top-order in a gem of swing bowling display.

Rishad Hossain hit seven sixes, the highest by a Bangladesh batter in this format in an innings, for his 30 ball-53 as Bangladesh recovered from 32-6 to be all out for 146 in 19.4 overs.

Rishad in fact broke the record of Jaker Ali Anik, who hit six sixes against Sri Lanka for his 34ball-68 in the first match of this series.

Thushara, the replacement of injured Matheesha Pathirana, took four wickets in his two overs including a hat-trick. Thushara’s hat-trick is the sixth hat-trick against Bangladesh, the highest a team conceded in this format.

Dhananjaya de Silva broke through with the wicket of Liton Das (7) and then in next over, Thushara joined the party. He removed captain Najmul Hossain Shanto (1) and Towhid Hridoy by rattling their stump before trapping Mahmudullah for leg-before. Mahmudullah reviewed in vain as Thushara became fourth Sri Lankan bowlers to achieve hat-trick in this format.

In his next over, Thushara got the better of Soumya Sarkar and captain Wanindu Hasanranga dismissed Jaker Ali (4) to leave Bangladesh 32-6.

Rishad then shared two partnerships to reduce the margin of the defeat—44- with Mahedi Hasan who scored 19 and 41-with Taskin Ahmed before being dismissed by offspinner Maheesh Theekshana. Taskin Ahmed hit a fluent 31.

Earlier, Bangladesh bowlers came up with stellar performance to restrict Sri Lanka to a total that looked achievable in this wicket,
Fast bowler Taskin Ahmed (2-25) and leg-spinner Rishad Hossain (2-35) led the charge, sharing four wickets between them.

For Sri Lanka, opener Kusal Mendis single-handedly drove the side, hammering 55 ball-86 which laced with six fours and six sixes.

No other batters could score even 20, with the second best coming from the willow Dasun Shanaka who made an unbeaten 19 off 9. Captain Wanindu Hasaranga who came back to lead the side after serving two-match ban, imposed by ICC, scored 15.

Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto for the third in a row won the toss and put Sri Lanka into bat first, considering Sylhet wicket favours the batters in the latter part of the game.

Taskin Ahmed made the breakthrough in the fourth over, taking out Dhananjaya de Silva for e8 but two Mendis—Kusal and Kamindu once again came to the fore, sharing 34 runs to steady the innings.

When Rishad removed Kamindu for run-a-ball-12, Kusal formed 59-run with Hasaranga. Kusal again dominated the partnership, scoring large bulk of runs.

But Bangladesh bowlers showed their skill in breaking the partnership whenever it appeared to take the game away.

Mustafizur Rahman, who took 1-47, now broke the partnership between Kusal and Hasaranga when it posed a huge threat.

Shoriful, who claimed 1-28, and Taskin then in joint-venture dismissed Charith Asalanka (3) and Kusal in quick succession, denting Sri Lanka’s hope to take the total past 200.
However Shanaka’s big hitting prowess at least helped them go past 170.

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