Sri Lanka began their Asia Cup 2023 Super Fours campaign with a 21-run win against Bangladesh in Colombo on Saturday, September 9 thereby knocking out the Shakib Al Hasan-led side from the ongoing tournament. Bangladesh have already lost to the hosts Pakistan in the first Super Four encounter and with a second loss in a row, they can’t make it to the final three teams still in the running for a spot in the summit clash.
Sri Lanka bowlers were up the speed right from the get-go knowing they were defending a middling score of 257 runs. They got the first wicket a little late, after the powerplay, but once they broke the partnership, the islanders knew that they could really get into Bangladesh’s middle order. After getting the first wicket in the 12th over, Sri Lanka got a couple of more wickets in less than four overs reducing Bangladesh to 70/3 including the big scalp of skipper Shakib Al Hasan.
Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka led the response with the ball with two of the first three wickets while the MS Dhoni-found prodigy Matheesha Pathirana dismissed Shakib. After which, the spinners got into the act with Dunith Wellalage getting the big wicket of Litton Das.
Mushfqur Rahim and Towhid Hriday then stitched a 72-run stand for the fourth wicket and it looked like Bangladesh are staging a nice little comeback to upset the Sri Lankan applecart. Shanaka like the opening stand, broke another big partnership which had slowly started to threaten Sri Lanka. After which he went back to his bank in Maheesh Theekshana and the spinner delivered.
Theekshana got three wickets in a span of 2.3 overs including the set Hriday, who played brilliantly for his 82. Theekshana had broken open the game with Bangladesh 8 down for 200. Nasum Ahmed and Hasan Mahmud tried their best but the target was too steep for the tailenders to track down.
Earlier, it was Sadeera Samarawickrama, whose exceptional 72-ball 93 helped Sri Lanka cross 250. Samarawickrama’s innings needs to be talked more as the second highest strike rate for a player playing more than 30 balls was 75 and he was batting at 129 on a surface, which wasn’t easy for strokemaking, especially against the slower bowlers. Sri Lanka will next face India on Tuesday, September 12 in their second game of Asia Cup Super Fours.