Kusal Perera's half-century and Seekuge Prasanna's all-round show helped Sri Lanka overhaul Bangladesh's 155 with seven balls to spare. The wicket-keeper was at his belligerent best after returning from injury and smashed a brilliant 77 off a mere 53 balls.
Earlier, Bangladesh’s batsmen failed to convert their starts into big scores as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Prasanna and Gunaratne frustrated the batsmen with tight lines and smart variations, making run-scoring very difficult. Mossadek Hossain and Mahmudullah, though, took them to a respectable total.
Upul Tharanga and Kusal Perera walked in all guns blazing and slammed 65 in 6 overs before the former was dismissed by Mortaza, who had earlier announced that this series would be his final one in T20Is.
After Mustafizur and Mohammad Saifuddin contained the batsmen in the middle overs, the game seemed to be in the balance but Prasanna played a timely cameo to take the hosts home.
Brief Scores: Bangladesh 155/6 in 20 overs (Mossadek Hossain 34, Mahmudullah 31, Malinga 2/38) lost to Sri Lanka 158/4 in 18.5 overs (Perera 77, Mortaza 2/32)
Here are the talking points from the first T20 at Colombo.
#5 Lasith Malinga warms up for the IPL
Lasith Malinga is a key figure in Mumbai Indians’ bowling plans and he would have been hoping to be fit and firing by the time the IPL gets underway. The slingy fast bowler warmed up for the major tournament with a good four-over spell against Bangladesh today.
He had the dangerous Tamim Iqbal bowled off the second ball of the game with his trademark delivery – a crushing yorker that the Bangladesh opener had no clue about. The Lankan seamer had provided the hosts with a big breakthrough first up.
The premier fast bowler returned to knock down a set Mahmudullah in the penultimate over, with the pacy yorker once again coming into play. But the Lankan went for 38 in his four overs, something he would like to set right in the IPL.
#4 Seekuge Prasanna answers Lankan call
Seekuge Prasanna was chosen ahead of Lakshan Sandakan in the starting line-up for the first T20. Despite Sandakan being the favourite and having a formidable T20 record, Lanka opted to give Prasanna a game.
The leg-spinner was keen to prove the selectors right as he kept things tidy in the middle overs. His big break came when he had the ever dangerous Shakib-al-Hasan caught at point with a well-flighted ball that dipped in front of the batsman.
Prasanna continued to bowl his variations and gave away a miserly 19 in his allotted four overs to return with the best figures of the day. His spell was crucial in Lanka restricting the visitors to less than 160. He then proceeded to hit two crucial sixes in the back end of the chase to help his team cross the line.
#3 Mossadek Hossain cements his spot
Mossadek Hossain has been slowly but steadily making a mark in the Bangladesh batting line-up. After a vital knock in the Test series, the middle-order batsman got an opportunity to showcase his shorter format skills; something that seemed equally good at first glance.
The right-hander walked in with Bangladesh at 70/4 and in a spot of bother. He soon lost his senior partner, Shakib, to an ugly swipe but remained unperturbed as he knocked around a few singles before hitting his first boundary, a forceful cut shot off Gunaratne.
He anticipated the slower balls and seemed ready to move around the crease as is expected of T20 players of this generation. His presence of mind to deftly dab the ball to the third man fence in the 18th over displayed the kind of maturity residing in this young batsman. He remained unbeaten on 34 as Bangladesh finished on 155.
#2 Mustafizur bowls his heart out a day before his IPL team plays opener
Mustafizur Rehman was a key element of Sunrisers Hyderabad's victorious IPL campaign in 2016. The franchise relied on his smart off-cutters and deadly slower balls at the death to choke the run flow and get crucial wickets.
The Bangladeshi is unavailable for the 1st game of the season but did his job in the T20 against Lanka. The left-arm seamer bowled a typically miserly first over that went for just five runs before Kusal Perera unleashed two boundaries off his second over.
The tricky bowler that he is, Mustafizur was kept for the death overs and returned to bowl five unplayable balls in the 18th over. However, Seekuge Prasanna smacked a six off the final ball to crush Bangladesh's hopes.
#1 Kusal Perera silences his critics
Sri Lankan selectors have not had the luxury of considering Kusal Perera for the shorter formats for some time now due to his bouts of injuries. Nirosha Dickwella had, however, filled in well for Perera but today the aggressive southpaw showed what Lanka were missing.
A flamboyant half-century against some tight bowling by the visitors sealed the game for Sri Lanka. Perera was aggressive from the onset, smashing boundaries at will. He smashed Shakib for two fours and a six in the powerplay.
He made 65 with Tharanga in an enterprising opening stand that ended when the skipper was dismissed by Mortaza. Despite losing partners at the other end, Perera continued to dominate the bowling and was dismissed only in the penultimate over when Lanka were on the verge of victory.