Colombo [Sri Lanka], September 9 (ANI): Maheesh Theekshana's spin magic and skipper Dasun Shanaka's breathtaking spell allowed Sri Lanka to comfortably claim the second-longest ODI win streak (13) in their Asia Cup Super Four triumph against Bangladesh on Saturday.
It was a game of spells and nerves and Sri Lanka did a better job on both counts to clinch a 21-run victory in the 'Nagin Derby.'
While chasing a modest target of 258, Bangladesh's first 10 overs resembled Sri Lanka's approach in the first innings. They began with an attacking mindset, trying to accumulate as many runs as possible in the first three to four overs.
In the first four overs, Bangladesh scored 28 runs, going at a healthy run rate even as opening batters Mohammad Naim and Mehidy Hasan looked to assess the surface.
Both batters looked to be in their comfort zones as Bangladesh registered 47 runs on the board in the first 10 overs. The Tigers didn't change their approach as Hasan struck a half-volley with the middle of the bat to find the fence.
With the Tigers threatening to seize the initiative and take the match away from the hosts, skipper Dasun Shanaka stepped up to take matters into his own hands and provided a breakthrough.
He dismissed the in-form batter Hasan for 28(29). The fall of this wicket triggered a batting collapse in the Bangladesh ranks, turning the match firmly in favour of the hosts.
In his next over, the skipper scalped Naim for 21(46), with Bangladesh two wickets down inside the first 20 overs.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Towhid Hridoy then came together a partnership that momentarily brought them back into the game. However, Shanaka wasn't in a mood to let the game slip out of Lanka's hands as he dismissed Rahim for 29 to hasten Bangladesh's demise.
Hridoy still didn't give up on the chase, as he held one end to keep the scoreboard ticking and the ball-to-run ratio within reach.
Partners changed but Hridoy didn't stop as he looked to be taking Bangladesh closer towards the finish line. But Theekshana's single-over changed the entire complexion of the game.
He picked up Hridoy's wicket and then claimed Taskin Ahmed's wicket in the same over to ensure Sri Lanka's triumph.
A last dash from Shoriful Islam and Hasan Mahmud rekindled Bangladesh's hopes but Matheesha Pathirana sent the Shofiful's bails flying to end the game and seal a 21-run victory for the Lankans.
Opting to field first, Bangladesh gave Sri Lanka a big blow as Hasan Mahmud drew first blood dismissing opener Dimuth Karunaratne in the sixth over of the game.
The fall of Karunaratne's wicket brought Kusal Mendis to the crease. Pathum Nissanka and Mendis teamed up to establish a formidable 50-run partnership on a pitch that was offering considerable purchase for the spinners.
The duo smacked Bangladesh bowlers for boundaries at regular intervals to keep the scoreboard motoring along.
However, Bangladesh bowlers took back control in the next 10 overs with the crafty left-arm spin on a dry pitch.
In front of Bangladesh's spin, Sri Lankan batters could only scrape together 30 runs during this riveting passage of play but they managed to protect their wickets, creating an intensely intriguing battle.
Bangladesh bowlers finally struck as Shoriful Islam trapped Nissanka leg before wicket for 40 (60). After going seven innings without an ODI fifty, Mendis brought up his 24th ODI half-century.
However, he soon fell prey to Shoriful Islam, who bagged his second wicket of the match, in the 26th over.
Charith Asalanka opened his innings with a stylish four. However, his stay at the crease was cut short by Taskin Ahmed in the 32nd over.
Mahmud struck again as he removed Dhananjaya de Silva bringing skipper Dasun Shanaka to the crease.
Despite being under pressure, Sadeera Samarawickrama brought up his fifty in 45 balls.
Captain Shanaka's brief innings of 24 came to an end as he was sent packing by Hasan Mahmud in the 47th over.
In the last over Samarawickrama managed to gather 11 runs with the help of one-four and a six to guide Sri Lanka to 257/9. He was out on the final delivery of the match.
Brief score: Sri Lanka 257/9 (Sadeera Samarawickrama 93, Kusal Mendis 50; Hasan Mahmud 3-57) vs Bangladesh 236/10 (Towhid Hridoy 82, Mushfiqur Rahim 29; Dasun Shanaka 3-28).