Sri Lanka See Off Bangladesh To Preserve T20 Ranking
Sri Lanka 198-5 (K Perera 64) beat
Bangladesh 181-7 by 17 runs
Twenty20 International, Pallekele
Report by John Pennington
Sri Lanka protected their number one ranking in Twenty20 International cricket with a convincing 17-run win over Bangladesh in their one-off match in Pallekele.
Kushal Perera slammed 64 at the top of the order to help Sri Lanka post 198 for five and although Bangladesh fought hard, they fell short, closing on 181 for seven.
Mohammad Ashraful struck an impressive 43 in 27 balls but Sri Lanka had put enough runs on the board, and, unlike Bangladesh, had the quality death bowling to close out the game.
This was best illiustrated by the fact that as late as the 17th over, Bangladesh were ahead in an over-by-over comparison.
Sri Lanka, through Angelo Mathews (30 in 27 balls), Jeewan Mendis (37 in 17) and Thisara Perera (22 in seven balls), made good on Kushal Perera's storming start with a flying finish, adding 44 runs in the final three overs as Abdur Razzak and Rubel Hossain received harsh treatment.
Kushal - one of three players named Perera playing for Sri Lanka - had earlier hit five fours and four sixes to keep Sri Lanka's innings on track as Dilshan Munaweera (5), Dinesh Chandimal (9) and Lahiru Thirimanne (5) fell cheaply.
Rubel, Sohag Gazi, Razzak and Mahmudullah took a wicket apiece for the visitors.
Mathews then rocked Bangladesh by trapping Shamsur Rahman in front without scoring and bowling Jahurul Islam for 11 but with Ashraful and Mushfiqur Rahim at the crease, Bangladesh were still in the game.
At one point, they went 19 balls without scoring a boundary but that run was ended when Ashraful, targeting the leg side, hit Thisara Perera for two sixes and a four in three balls, only for Perera to win the battle by having him trapped in front as he tried to move across his stumps and hit out again.
Nasir Hossain made eight before Perera struck again to have him caught before Rahim found another able ally in Mahmudullah.
The pair put on 50 in one ball shy of five overs, Rahim hitting 39 in 29 balls and Mahmudullah 31 in 18 before the innings began to unravel.
First, Rahim hit a Sachithra Senanayake full toss into the hands of Shaminda Eranga and Mahmudullah was then run out as he and Mominul Haque attempted a very short third run to Lasith Malinga.
Chandimal was keeping Malinga back for the final overs, and he delivered yet again, conceding just 27 runs in his four overs, and by the time he was back in the attack, Bangladesh had run out of recognised batsmen and were needing more than runs per ball.
They had fought the good fight, but despite Mominul's valiant 26 not out in 16 balls, Sri Lanka got home relatively comfortably.
The match brought to an end a tour in which Bangladesh had made plenty of history, drawing the opening Test and then tying the One-Day International series 1-1, not to mention a successful return to the side for Ashraful and the enhancing of the reputations of the likes of Rahim, Nasir and Mominul Haque.
© Cricket World 2013
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