Colombo: Mushfiqur Rahim’s blazing 72 off 35 balls helped Bangladesh achieve their fourth-highest successful chase in Twenty20 Internationals as they defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets on Sunday to throw the Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series open at the Premadasa Stadium.
Bangladesh chased down 215, winning with two balls to spare after Sri Lanka appeared to have scored a potentially match-winning 214/6.
For 15.4 overs of the chase, Bangladesh had put up a spirited show. They needed 51 off 26 balls, almost two runs per ball.
However, two bad balls from Thisara Perera, a waist-high full toss to Mahmudullah which was dispatched for six and a four off the resultant free-hit changed the complexion of the match.
Sri Lanka fought back with the wickets of Mahmudullah (20) and Sabbir Rahman (0), putting Mushfiqur Rahim, who did not get Bangladesh over the line in the World T20 against India in Bangalore in 2016, under pressure.
However, he dispatched a full toss from Nuwan Pradeep in the 19th over into the stands at deep mid wicket to get the equation down to nine runs in the final over.
The 29-year-old steered the third ball of the final over from Thisara Perera to the third man fence and fittingly ended the match by flicking a full ball to midwicket.
After completing the run, Mushfiqur celebrated with a snake dance, both hands raised to form the hood.
Mushfiqur’s brilliant fifty was set-up by an aggressive start from Bangladesh openers Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das.
Like the start by Sri Lanka, both openers went after the bowling and blasted 74 runs in the powerplay. At that stage, Sri Lanka had been 70/1.
Liton was the primary aggressor as he hammered four sixes in four overs while Tamim Iqbal punished Nuwan Pradeep and Akila Dananjaya.
Liton and Tamim looked good for their fifties but were dismissed by Pradeep, the pacer trapping Liton leg before for 43 and getting Tamim with a short ball that leapt up and the batsman could only get a leading edge back to the bowler.
Soumya Sarkar joined Mushfiqur and the duo added a fifty-run stand as Bangladesh kept pace with the required rate, which allowed Mushfiqur to ensure victory despite losing wickets towards the end.
Earlier, Sri Lanka had a great chance of securing their second consecutive win thanks to aggressive fifties from Kusal Perera (74) and Kusal Mendis (57).
Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka had given Sri Lanka a blazing start with the fifty coming in the fourth over.
Despite Gunathilaka (26) falling to Mustafizur Rahman, Perera and Mendis tore into the bowling.
Mendis notched up his third fifty against Bangladesh while Perera hit his second consecutive fifty in the tournament.
Despite Upul Tharanga’s cameo of 32 off 15 balls helping Sri Lanka register their highest score against Bangladesh, it was not enough thanks to the exploits of Mushfiqur.