Bowlers help SL seal five-wicket win


After a one-sided victory for Pakistan against Nepal in the tournament opener, the second match of the 2023 Asia Cup, between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Pallekele on Thursday, was a more competitive affair as the hosts completed a five-wicket win.

Sri Lanka players after winning the Asia Cup 2023 game against Bangladesh(AP)

Having made it to the upcoming ODI World Cup through the qualifiers, Sri Lanka, the defending champions at the Asia Cup, went into their encounter against Bangladesh without star all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga and a couple of their first-choice fast bowlers, who have been sidelined due to injuries.

However, Dasun Shanaka and Co put in an impressive performance with the ball to bowl out Bangladesh for just 164 runs before finishing with 165/5 in 39 overs to bag the two points.

Opting to bat first in sultry conditions, Bangladesh struggled to stitch together partnerships throughout. Najmul Hossain Shanto came to the crease at No.3 and held fort to score 89 runs off 122 balls, but the rest of the batting order crumbled. Towhid Hridoy, in at No.5, was the second-highest scorer with 20 runs, in what was a forgettable performance with the bat by the visitors who lost their last six wickets for a mere 37 runs.

Right-arm pacer Matheesha Pathirana, who has impressed in the IPL for Chennai Super Kings, was the pick of the bowlers and returned with figures of 4/32 from 7.4 overs. The 20-year-old became the youngest Sri Lankan to take a four-wicket haul in ODI cricket.

In reply, Sri Lanka found themselves in trouble at 15/2 and then 43/3 as Shoriful Islam, Taskin Ahmed and Shakib Al Hasan dismissed Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis respectively. But there was no real trouble from there on as Sadeera Samarawickrama (54 off 77) and Charith Asalanka (62* off 92) put on a partnership of 78 runs for the fourth wicket to all but kill the contest.

It was a fourth ODI half-century for Samarawickrama, who hit six boundaries in his knock. Mahedi Hasan got the right-hander stumped in the 30th over before Shakib cleaned up Dhananjaya de Silva 11 balls later. But it remained a mini fightback by Bangladesh.

Asalanka showed composure and went to on register his ninth ODI fifty, with five fours and a six, while skipper Shanaka was not-out on 14 off 21 as Sri Lanka closed out the win.

For their second games, the Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan teams will travel to Pakistan and face Afghanistan, the third team in Group B, at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Sunday and Tuesday respectively.


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