Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Senanayake and Perera celebrate after leading Sri Lanka to victory off the last ball of the match
Sri Lanka were pushed to their limits once again by Bangladesh, but managed to escape with a three-wicket win in the second Twenty20 International in Chittagong thanks to Sachithra Senanayake’s last ball heroics.
Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza would have definitely been regretting his decision to bat first as his top five batsmen were all back in the pavilion with only 47 runs on the board.
Things went from bad to worse when Mahmudullah was run out by Tillakaratne Dilshan for just nine runs.
Farhad Reza also made nine runs before he was caught by Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal at short cover off the bowling of Nuwan Kulasekara.
Mortaza made a quickfire 17 before he was clean bowled by Lasith Malinga.
Arafat Sunny only made five runs before he was caught by Chandimal at mid-on off the bowling of Malinga.
Bangladesh were bowled out for 120 just two balls later when Sabbir Rahman was caught by Kulasekara at deep point for 26.
Malinga was the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with three wickets, while Kulasekara and Senanayake snapped up two wickets apiece and Dilshan and Ajantha Mendis chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 121 to win, Sri Lanka got off to a horrendous start as they lost their top three batsmen for just 32 runs.
Angelo Perera failed to have an impact either as he was clean bowled by Mortaza for four runs.
Angelo Mathews only made two runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Mortaza.
Kulasekara also made two runs before he was run out by Mahmudullah.
Kumar Sangakkara smashed a quickfire 37 off 38 balls, which included one boundary and a six, before he was caught by Tamim Iqbal at backward point off the bowling of Rubel Hossain.
Senanayake and Thisara Perera amassed an unbeaten 27-run partnership to lead Sri Lanka home.
However, Sri Lanka’s victory was a lot closer than most people would have expected as they needed nine runs to win from the final over.
After scoring seven runs off the first five balls, Senanayake was tasked with the job of getting two runs off the last ball to guide Sri Lanka to victory.
He did so by smashing a magnificent boundary behind square leg and while he and the rest of his team-mates celebrated their three-wicket win, Bangladesh could only look on in utter despair.
Mortaza was the successful bowler with two wickets, while Sunny, Hossain, Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Mortaza was heartbroken to have lost the match off the last ball, and said: “We won the toss [and] decided to bat, but our batsmen couldn’t go through. At the same time, the bowling and fielding was outstanding. I told the boys, ‘we have nothing to lose in this match’. [A] Lot of young players have come through in these two matches.”
Chandimal was ecstatic to have won the series 2-0, but admitted that his side definitely have some “homework” to do prior to the start of the World Twenty20.
“Credit goes to all the bowlers,” he said. “After we lost 2-3 wickets, Sanga [and] Thisara batted really well. At the end, Thisara batted really well. We have to do some homework [but] we never underestimated Bangladesh.”
Thisara Perera was named Man of the Match, and said: “After six wickets [was] gone, I was under pressure to show who am I. I wanted to support my team-mate Sanga. Thanks to the Sri Lankan crowd.”
Kulasekara was named Man of the Series, and said: “[Two] Very exciting games. It is a pleasure to win the matches [but] we have some areas to improve. Bangladesh keep improving everyday, full credit to them in both games. The one-dayers will be a different ball game [and I’m] looking forward to the ODI series.”