Bangladesh Fall Just Short Of Upset Win
Sri Lanka 168-7 (K Perera 64) beat
Bangladesh 166-7 (Anamul Haque 59) by two runs
First Twenty20 International, Chittagong
Bangladesh came mightily close to toppling number one-ranked Sri Lanka in the first Twenty20 International in Chittagong before they were beaten by just two runs.
After Sri Lanka posted 168 for seven, Bangladesh closed on 166 for seven when Anamul Haque was dismissed with the final ball of the match.
There was incredible late drama as Anamul hit two fours from the fourth and fifth balls of the final over to leave himself with the task of needing three to win from the final ball, or two to force a one-over eliminator.
However, it wasn't to be for the home side, as despite Thisara Perera delivering a full toss, all Anamul could do was to loft it back to the bowler and once the match officials were satisfied that the delivery was not above waist height, Sri Lanka could celebrate.
They had been pushed all the way, however, with Anamul dominating the run chase with 59 in 45 balls after the tourists had posted 168 for seven.
Openers Tamim Iqbal (30 in 25 balls) and Shamsur Rahman (22 in 15) got them off to the required fast start with 52 runs in 43 balls before Perera removed Tamim and Ajantha Mendis had Shamsur caught and bowled.
Anamul then put on vital partnerships with Shakib Al Hasan (26) and Nasir Hossain (16) before Sri Lanka looked to have taken complete control by reducing Bangladesh to 134 for five.
Mohammad Mithun was caught behind for a golden duck and Bangladesh were left needing 17 to win from the final over.
Anamul hit a four and then two from the first two balls before Farhad Reza (7) was run out.
Then he struck Perera to the fence twice more, first through the covers and then over the head of cover only to see his, and Bangladesh's efforts in vain in the end.
Earlier, Sri Lanka's innings was built around opener Kushal Perera's 64 in 44 balls. He hit seven fours and one six as wickets fell at the other end.
Captain Mashrafe Mortaza, Shakib and Arafat Sunny all took two wickets before a late charge hauled Sri Lanka up to a decent score.
Thisara Perera proved more useful with the bat at the death than with the ball (although he got away with it) with 19 in 16 balls but the real innings-turning contribution came from Nuwan Kulasekara.
He smacked a four and two sixes in a quickfire 31 in 21 balls that helped Sri Lanka fight back - and the value of his late runs only became apparent the longer the game wore on.
He then emerged as the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with two for 29 with Thisara taking two for 40 to ensure that Sri Lanka will on top of the Twenty20 rankings regardless of the result of the second and final match in two days.
© Cricket World 2014