Heartbreak as Tigers lose thrillerAtif Azam . Chittagong
Batman Anamul Haque’s maiden Twenty20 International half-century went in vain on Wednesday as Bangladesh were defeated by two runs in the first of two Twenty20s against Sri Lanka at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
Anamul scored a 45-ball 58 and kept the hosts in the chase till the very last delivery but could not have the last laugh, failing to get the required three runs off the last ball to let the tourists take a 1-0 lead in the series.
With the Tigers needing 17 runs from the last over, the right-hander smashed hit a four off the first ball and two more fours through extra cover off consecutive deliveries after Farhad Reza departed (7) to ease the pressure.
However, Anamul was eventually caught off a waist-high full toss off the final ball just three runs from victory as Bangladesh were restricted to 166-7 in their chase of Sri Lanka’s 168-7.
Anamul and Sakib al Hasan added 43 runs for the third wicket before a collapse in the middle derailed the Tigers’ pursuit of a memorable victory. Openers Tamim Iqbal and Shamsur Rahman started the chase on a strong note, putting on 52 runs together to help the hosts build a platform from which they could realistically launch against the top-ranked Twenty20 side in the world.
Tamim (30), who was in doubt for the match due to a neck strain, decided to play wearing tape on his neck, and he did not allow Lasith Malinga to dominate the initial stages, hitting four fours in the experienced Sri Lankan’s first two overs.
Shamsur, fresh off his maiden Test hundred against the Sri Lankans earlier this month, did not look uncomfortable either, driving over-pitched deliveries with ease and grace before getting dismissed when he tried to push at a Jeevan Mendis delivery that he totally misread.
Tamim was next to follow when he mishit a pull shot and was caught Angelo Mathews, who covered a long distance running over from midwicket and dove at full-stretch to take the catch.
Earlier, Bangladesh opted to go with three seamers and gave debuts to wicketkeeper Mohammad Mithun and Arafat Sunny in the match.
Skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza gave the host a good start by removing opener Tillakaratne Dilshan for a duck off the third ball of the innings before Kusal Perera (64) and Dinesh Chandimal (18) steadied the ship by adding 54 runs in 5.5 overs.
Skipper Chandimal gave Perera, who is often called the next Sanath Jayasuriya for his approach and style, the scope to flourish, and the opener used his
blazing stroke-play to toy with the hosts’ bowlers.
Sakib came to the rescue, breaking the partnership by removing the Chandimal when the latter tried to hit a six over midwicket but only found Farhad Reza just inside the boundary.
Sakib followed with another wicket in his second over, when Nasir Hossain took a brilliant diving catch at square leg off a Kumar Sangakkara (11) pull shot.
Debutant Arafat Sunny could not have asked for a better start on the international stage, taking the wickets of Seekkuge Prasanna and Perera in his three overs as to finish the day with 2-17.
Sunny, a veteran with 12 years on the domestic circuit, was rewarded for his perseverance when he dismissed Perera, who was looking to take the game far out of the Tigers’ reach but ended up holing out to Anamul at midwicket.
Anamul kept his balance like a gymnast to stay inside the rope for one of the many good high catches the Tigers held on to on the boundary.
Bangladesh batsman Anamul Haque looks dejected after losing his wicket off the final ball of his side’s first Twenty20 against Sri Lanka in Chittagong on Wednesday. The Tigers lost the match by two runs. — New Age photo
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