Mushfiqur Rahim defied intense heat and humidity to guide Bangladesh to a stunning 137-run win over Sri Lanka on the opening night of the 2018 Asia Cup.
The 31-year-old wicketkeeper made a remarkable 144, after arriving at the wicket with Bangladesh mired at one for two after brilliance with the new ball by Lasith Malinga, on his comeback to international cricket.
Bangladesh were soon to be as good as three down for just two runs, after Tamim Iqbal suffered a tournament-ending wrist injury.
Mushfiqur shared in a stand worth 129 with Mohammed Mithun to repair some of the damage, but Sri Lanka still appeared to be well set when Bangladesh’s ninth wicket fell with the score on 229.
At that point, Tamim, who had earlier been seen on the big-screen with his arm in a sling, made a shock, and heroic, reappearance at the crease.
Wearing a glove that had been hastily modified in the dressing room on his left-hand, he held the bat in just his right hand.
He saw off one ball, before spending the rest of a stand worth 32 with Mushfiqur at the non-striker’s end.
Mushfiqur had shown great fortitude himself. The match had started in 42-degree heat, and the mercury barely dropped thereafter. In the final overs, he was limping because of the effects of cramp, and Liton Das took the wicket-keeping gloves instead.
Tamim’s courage and Mushfiqur’s clean-striking provided just the sort of kick Bangladesh required, as they reached 261.
It entirely overshadowed Malinga's sparkling four-wicket haul, on his first appearance for Sri Lanka in over a year.
Upul Tharanga began the pursuit of victory in brisk fashion, driving the second ball of the innings for a straight six. It was only a brief show of resistance, though, as the Sri Lankans crumbled.
They were bowled out for 124 with nearly 15 overs remaining. Captain Mashrafe Mortaza, Mustafizur Rahman and Mehidy Hasan each took two wickets.
Sri Lanka will aim to bounce back when they face Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Pakistan start their campaign when they face qualifiers Hong Kong in Dubai on Sunday.
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