Former champions Sri Lanka held their nerve to qualify for Super Four of the Asia Cup here with a thrilling two-wicket win over Bangladesh in a crucial Group B match at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, here on Thursday.
While Sri Lanka and Afghanistan qualified for Super Four from Group B, it was the end of the tournament for Bangladesh, who lost both their matches. On the other hand, India have qualified for Super Four from Group A and the winner of the clash between Pakistan and Hong Kong on Friday will take the final slot.
Chasing a challenging total of 184, Sri Lanka started off well, scoring 48 runs in the powerplay. But they soon found themselves in trouble at 77/4 in the ninth over.
However, Kusal Mendis, helped by a series of let-offs, compiled a half-century (60 off 37) and kept Sri Lanka in the game. Once Mendis got out, captain Dasun Shanaka had the task of keeping the momentum and he took Sri Lanka close to victory with his crucial knock (45 off 33) before getting out in the 18th over.
At 158/7 in the 18th over, Sri Lanka's hopes appeared done and dusted but Chamika Karunaratne gave some lifeline to the innings with his 16 off 10. Just when it looked like he will take Sri Lanka home, a suicidal run cost Karunaratne his wicket in the fifth ball of the 19th over.
Though, the penultimate over eventually turned out to be a productive one for Sri Lanka, who managed 17 runs off Ebadot Hossain's over to bring the equation in their favour.
Sri Lanka needed 8 runs from 6 balls and Theekshana took a single in the first ball of that final over. Debutant Asitha Fernando (10 not out off 3 balls) then hit a much-needed boundary which was then followed by two runs off the next ball.
Sri Lanka needed only 1 from 3 at that stage but it was then relayed to the on-field umpire that Mahedi had overstepped which gave the island nation a thrilling two-wicket win with two wickets in hand and four balls to spare. It was also the highest-ever successful run chase in UAE in T20Is, beating Afghanistan's run chase of 180 against UAE in 2016.
Ebadot Hossain (3/51) was the most successful as well as an expensive bowler for Bangladesh while Taskin Ahmed (2/24), Mustafizur Rahman (1/32), and Mahedi Hasan (1/30) were the other wicket-takers.
Earlier, the whole first innings of the game ebbed and flowed with both teams throwing punches at each other but eventually, Bangladesh were successful in putting on a competitive total of 183/7 in 20 overs.
Put into to bat first, Bangladesh promoted Mehidy Hasan Miraz (38 off 26) to open the innings and he gave them a flying start. However, Sri Lanka fought back with wickets at regular intervals in the middle overs.
Afif Hossain then came on and took the game by the scruff of the neck and slammed his way to a 22-ball 39, giving impetus to the innings. He put up a 57-run stand off 37 balls for the fifth wicket before getting out in the 17th innings.
Mosaddek Hossain (24 not out off 9) and Taskin Ahmed (11 off 6) carried forward that momentum and smashed 24 runs off 11 balls for the eighth wicket to take Bangladesh to 183-7.
For Sri Lanka, Chamika Karunaratne returned with figures of 2/32, while Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva scalped 2/41.
Brief scores: Bangladesh 183/7 in 20 overs (Atif Hossain 39, Mehdiy Hasan Miraz 38; Chamika Karunaratne 2/32) lost to Sri Lanka 184/8 in 19.2 overs (Kusal Mendis 60, Dasun Shanaka 45; Ebadot Hossain 3/51) by 2 wickets