T20 World Cup: Sri Lanka defeat Bangladesh in ill-tempered clash in Sharjah

Fifties from Charith Asalanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa seal five-wicket win

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Sri Lanka prevailed in a match that started off with some unruly scenes at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

The Islanders won by five wickets chasing 172 with seven balls to spare. Charith Asalanka (80 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (53) took the team to their fourth successive win after three triumphs in the first round of the T20 World Cup.

The Sri Lankans seemed to be down and out at 90-4 and 82 needed from 48 balls. But Asalanka had other ideas as he smashed 80 from 49 balls with five fours and as many sixes, while Rajapaksa, celebrating his 30th birthday, hit a 31-ball 53 to take Sri Lanka to victory.

However, Asalanka and Rajapaksa were aided by Bangladesh fielder Liton Das, who dropped both batsmen. Rajapaksa was on 14 when he was dropped at deep square leg while Asalanka was given a let-off on 63.

Earlier, Bangladesh kept their cool in an emotionally-charged day to post 171-4. Mushfiqur Rahim scored an unbeaten 57 and opener Mohammad Naim hit 62 in sultry conditions at Sharjah.

The match got off to a fiery start with an angry exchange of words and a physical confrontation between players from both sides at the fall of the first wicket.

In the sixth over, Sri Lanka fast bowler Lahiru Kumara dismissed Bangladesh's Das. As the batsman prepared to leave, heated words were exchanged between the two. The situation soon turned ugly as Naim and other Sri Lankan players came between the two and had to push them away to stop the situation from escalating.

Despite the distraction, Naim made 62 from 52 balls before he was eventually dismissed in the 17th over, caught and bowled by Binura Fernando.

Naim and Mushfiqur Rahim put on 73 for the third wicket as Bangladesh upped the pace.

After the match, Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka said he was pleased with the way youngsters stepped up to the challenge.

"It was not the easiest targets to chase but once batsmen are set, any target can be chased," Shanaka said.

"It was an outstanding innings from Asalanka. It's very important that youngsters step up at this stage."

His counterpart Mahmudullah believed Bangladesh were in the game for much of the second innings but lost the plot towards the end.

"I thought 171 could be defended. Liton and Naim gave us a very good start. Naim held the innings," he said.

"Mushfiqur also played a brilliant innings. We were in the game until the tenth over. But things went wrong for us after that. We will correct that in the next game."

Updated: October 24, 2021, 2:28 PM
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