Asalanka, Rajapaksa Star In Sri Lanka’s Stellar Chase

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Asalanka, Rajapaksa star in Sri Lanka's stellar chase. Asalanka and Rajapaksa made 86 off 52 to help Sri Lanka recover from 79 for 4 and ace the chase of 171.

Asalanka, Rajapaksa Star In Sri Lanka’s Stellar ChaseAsalanka and Rajapaksa made 86 off 52 to help Sri Lanka recover from 79 for 4 and ace the chase of 171.

Bangladesh suffered a heartbreak as Sri Lanka pulled off a chase of 171 rather comfortably with seven balls to spare. An unbeaten 80 from Charith Asalanka, and his brilliant partnership with Bhanuka Rajapaksa turned pivotal eventually.

Was it always easy for Sri Lanka?

Not at all. They lost Kusal Perera in just the first over and then suffered a collapse in the middle that saw them lose three wickets in the space of 10 balls. Shakib Al Hasan picked two of those – Pathum Nissanka and Avishka Fernando – bowled while Wanindu Hasaranga holed out to deep midwicket. At 79/4, Sri Lanka's chase was veering off course.

How did they get over the line then?

Thanks to a tremendous 86-run stand from Asalanka and Rajapaksa for the fifth wicket that turned the game around. Asalanka was the lynchpin of the innings throughout. He was the aggressor after the early wicket of Kusal, amassing 32 of the 54 runs that Sri Lanka scored in the powerplay. Thereafter, he made sure that his innings never got stuck in a rut. But the arrival of Rajapaksa turned the tide even further. He picked up 21 in the 16th over bowled by Saifuddin, targeting the shorter boundaries and the weaker link perfectly, and got Sri Lanka nearly home before being bowled by Nasum. But his 53 off just 31 balls had given Sri Lanka enough to get past Bangladesh's 171.

How did Bangladesh get to 171?

It was an innings that ebbed and flowed over the course with two men – Mohammad Naim and Mushfiqur Rahim – scoring contrasting half-centuries that were both instrumental in getting Bangladesh to an imposing total.

Why was the contrast important?

Naim's innings came on the back of Bangladesh losing two quick wickets, along with a dose of drama. Liton Das hit Lahiru Kumara to extra cover to end a 40-run opening stand. This was followed by both bowler and batsman going head to head before the team and the umpires intervened. Shakib Al Hasan started off with a couple of boundaries first up but was bowled by Chamika Karunaratne for just 10. At 56/2, Bangladesh needed to be steadied and Naim played the perfect hand, preferring to turn the strike over to Mushfiqur Rahim as much as much as possible thereafter.

What made Rahim so successful?

Well set plans and execution played a huge part in Rahim's success as he played to his strengths against Sri Lanka's pace heavy attack. And whenever their spinner, Wanindu Hasaranga, went too full he brought out his now-famour sweep to pick boundaries. The pacers were predominantly full against Rahim, who managed to drill it the boundary from deep in the crease. The lap shot and the pull were brought out with success too when the lengths were corrected. He played the dominant role in a 73-run stand with Naim that took Bangladesh from strength to strength as they finished with 171.

Brief scores: Bangladesh 171/4 in 20 overs (Mohammad Naim 62, Mushfiqur Rahim 57) lost to Sri Lanka 172/5 in 18.5 overs (Charith Asalanka 80*, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 53; Shakib al Hasan 2-17) by five wickets.

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