Published: February 13, 2014
Anamul Haque fought hard and played some eye-catching shots to take Bangladesh to a winning position but failed to give the finishing touch as Sri Lanka won a last-ball thriller to take a 1-0 lead in the two-T20 series at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium yesterday.
Needing three runs from the last delivery to chase down the visitors’ total of 168, the right-hander skied a cross-batted shot to a high full toss to be caught by bowler Thisara Perera and thus his brilliant 58 went in vain. With that shot the Tigers lost the opportunity to record their first T20 win over higher ranked opposition since beating West Indies twice.
There was a break in play before Perera delivered his crucial last ball as there was a protracted conference at the bowler’s end but he could only produce a full toss that the batsman could have hit anywhere but only miscued it straight up in the air.
The drama however did not end with the shot as umpires referred it upstairs to make sure that the delivery was not illegal.
There was still room for debate as the call could have gone either way and finally it fell in favour of the Lankans.
Before the last ball’s drama the win looked distant for the Tigers as they needed 17 runs off the last over but two consecutive lofted boundaries through the cover and extra-cover areas from Anamul swung the match almost in favour of the home team after a lucky, edged four off the first ball.
The Mashrafe Bin Mortaza-led Bangladesh might not have ended winners but they fought brilliantly, showing how close the gap between the No.1 and No.10 ranked sides are. The performance also provided evidence that they have started to learn the craft of the newest version of the game and confirmed their competence in all formats of the game at home.
Back to the match, the dashing Sri Lanka left-hander and man of the match Kaushal Perera smashed a 44-ball 64 and Nuwan Kulasekara hit a late cameo of 31 to give their side a fighting total. Other notable highlights from the match was that Shakib Al Hasan shone with both bat and well, before he was dismissed at the wrong time playing an ill-judged swipe; Tamim Iqbal got back among the runs and spinner Arafat Sunny had a quite brilliant debut, bowling economically and taking two wickets.
Usually a batsman or bowler takes the kudos after a match, as Kaushal Perera did yesterday but many will remember the match for some outstanding catches from the Bangladeshi fielders, who created an opportunity for their batsmen to win their first T20 game against the Lankans after choosing to field first.
Shakib got the wicket of Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal and Kumar Sangakkara in quick succession but it was Forhad Reza and Nasir Hossain who made it possible by taking stunning catches. Forhad at long on leaped and took it just inside the ropes to send back dangerman Chandimal while Nasir sprinted full tilt to his right about six metres in from the midwicket fence, then threw himself to intercept the ball mid air.
And then Anamul’s catch to send back Perera was reminiscent of a champion gymnast’s balancing act after he jumped high and intercepted the ball above his head and teetered forward and backwards at the edge of the rope, before regaining his poise and sealing the wicket.
After all that however, it was the last ball that will matter to the series score.