Mashrafe Mortaza’s last T20I turned out to be a memorable one for him, as Bangladesh cruised to a 45-run win over Sri Lanka in the second match at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo. With this win, Bangladesh leveled the series 1-1. The Test and ODI series had ended 1-1 as well, making this as one of Bangladesh’s most successful overseas tours. It was a wonderful all-round performance by Bangladesh in this match. Their batsmen got them off to a good score and then their bowlers put up a clinical performance and got their side over the line. Let us now have a closer look at some of the highlights of the game. Full Cricket Scorecard: Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh, 2nd T20I at Colombo (RPS)
Bangladesh’s record opening stand: Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar registered 71 runs for the first wicket in just 39 deliveries to get Bangladesh’s innings up and running. This was Bangladesh’s highest opening stand in T20Is. The previous best (63) was between Anamul Haque and Tamim Iqbal in the ICC World T20 2014 against Nepal. However, Kayes and Sarkar got Bangladesh off to just the start they would have hoped for after winning the toss and electing to bat first.
Lasith Malinga’s hat-trick: Malinga bowled well in the series, but he was at his lethal best in the penultimate over of the Bangladesh innings. He foxed batsmen beautifully with slower deliveries and made it difficult for them to put him away. Mushfiqur Rahim first went for a slog sweep and failed to connect it well. A slower delivery did the job again when Mortaza looked to slap the ball away, missed it completely and the ball crashed onto his wickets. Mortaza, in his final match, was dismissed for a golden duck. In came debutant Mehedi Hasan, who as we have seen in the past is no mug with the bat.
Once again, the pacer fooled the batsman with a slower delivery. Mehedi was a tad slow to get his bat down and was wrapped on the pads. There was no doubt that it would have crashed into Mehedi’s wickets. Malinga, as a result, is the only second Sri Lankan and the fifth bowler overall to register a T20I hat-trick.
Shakib Al Hasan’s all-round show: Shakib came in at a time when Bangladesh had lost a couple of quick wickets. They needed an experienced campaigner like him to take up the responsibility to steady the situation. He played a calm innings, slamming 38 off 31, which included four boundaries. He was entrusted to open the bowling as well. He did not disappoint as he removed openers Kusal Perera and Dilshan Munaweera off his first two overs. This initially put Bangladesh in the driver’s seat. He came back into the attack later on and dismissed Thisara Perera for 27.
Chamara Kapugedara’s lone battle: Kapugedara walked in when Sri Lanka were 19 for 2 in the third over, chasing 177. Wickets kept tumbling around him, but he weathered the storm and scored a fifty, which came of just 34 deliveries. He added 58 for the sixth wicket with Thisara Perera, but Sri Lanka by then were more or less out of contention. However, had Kapugedara not scored these runs, Sri Lanka might very well have been bowled out for under 100.
Mustafizur Rahman’s 4-for: There is a reason why Mustafizur Rahman is considered one of the bright young bowlers in the world. He has already accomplished a lot in his short international career. He showed his class again, finishing with figures of 4 for 21 in 3 overs. He removed Asela Gunaratne and Milinda Siriwardana for first-ball ducks. He returned to get rid of Kapugedara and Malinga later on in his spell.
Mashrafe Mortaza’s final hurrah: Mortaza played his final T20I match for Bangladesh. He did not have the best of starts as he was dismissed for a golden duck. But with the ball, he picked up his final wicket off his penultimate delivery. Mortaza led Bangladesh to 10 wins in his 28 matches in charge.