Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Upul Tharanga scored 56 and Shehan Madushanka claimed a hat-trick on debut as Sri Lanka triumphed in the ODI tri-series final after cruising to a 79-run win over Bangladesh in Dhaka.
Choosing to bat first, Sri Lanka lost opener Danushka Gunathilaka in the third over as he was caught by Tamim Iqbal at long-off off the bowling of Mehidy Hasan Miraz for six runs.
Kusal Mendis made a scoring start to his innings, but his aggressive approach brought about his downfall as he was caught by Mahmudullah at mid-on off the bowling of Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza for a nine-ball 28.
Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella stabilised the innings with a 71-run partnership before Dickwella was dismissed by Mohammad Saifuddin for 42.
Tharanga went on to score 56 off 99 balls, which included five boundaries, before he was clean bowled by Mustafizur Rahman.
Once Tharanga was out, Sri Lanka began to collapse, but captain Dinesh Chandimal stood tall and scored a vital 45 before being cleaned up by Rubel Hossain.
Sri Lanka were ultimately bowled out for 221.
Rubel was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Mustafizur took two and Mehidy, Mortaza and Saifuddin chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 222 to win, Bangladesh were in all sorts of trouble early on as Dushmantha Chameera carved through their top order to leave them reeling at 22/3.
Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim stemmed the bleeding with a 58-run partnership before Rahim was sent packing by Akila Dananjaya for 22.
Bangladesh began to lose wickets in a hurry after Rahim’s dismissal and Madushanka ended the match in style as he took out Mortaza and Rubel on the last two balls of his fifth over before going on to remove Mahmudullah on the first ball of his sixth over to complete a sensational hat-trick.
Mahmudullah scored 76 off 92 balls, which included six boundaries and three sixes.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Shakib did not end up batting due to a finger injury he sustained and Bangladesh were eventually bowled out for 142.
Madushanka was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Chameera and Dananjaya claimed two wickets apiece.
Mortaza was gutted to lose the tournament, and said: “I think the bowling has been pretty good. We needed to take our chances chasing 220 but we bowled well. We unfortunately lost Shakib but that shouldn’t be an excuse for this defeat. Mahmudullah batted very well. We thought 220-230 would have been perfect.
“We could have been a little better with the bowling perhaps, but we couldn’t get any partnership going with the bat. Mahmudullah batted well but unfortunately it didn’t prove good enough for the team. The fans have always been with us and supported us no matter what. Hopefully they will continue to support us. I wish the Test team all the very best.”
Chandimal was delighted that Sri Lanka won their first ODI trophy since November 2016, and said: “We are over the moon as a team. This is the hard work of everyone. After losing the first two games, the guys put their heart and soul in practice sessions and finally here we are, winners.
“We all know Bangladesh, especially on home soil, are playing very good cricket over the last two years. So we never underestimate the Bangladesh team. We needed one or two wickets, that’s what I told the guys, and Akila Dhananjaya gave us those wickets. Upul and Niroshan and myself and Upul put up good partnerships.
“Madushanka is outtsanding. We all know he can bowl fast and that’s why he came here. He’s grabbed his chance. We’re very happy he bowled well and this is a memorable moment for him. Angelo Mathews is the one who got us here and credit goes to him.”
Tharanga was named Man of the Match, and said: “It was very difficult to score. According to the wicket and according to the plan, we batted really well. It was very difficult for even the best of batsmen to score. But Dickwella batted very well and gave us momentum. We knew we got a decent score and the first 10 overs would be crucial. Dushmantha bowled very well and the lines and lengths were very good.”