Dhaka: Bangladesh has reached the tri-series one day international tournament final in Dhaka with a surprise five-wicket defeat of Sri Lanka.
Shakib Al Hasan single-handedly took the game away from Sri Lanka by scoring unbeaten 92 off 69 deliveries consisting of 10 fours and two maximums. He won the deserving man of the match prize.
The hosts will clash with Sri Lanka again in Friday's final after both teams finished their league engagements with five points apiece, including a bonus point, with a win each. Zimbabwe, who also won one match, ended with four points.
It was only the second win by Bangladesh over Sri Lanka in 25 one-day internationals."It was the best innings of my career," said man-of-the-match Hasan. "I was middling the ball. I did not target any bowler and played each ball on its merit."
The hosts were reeling at 11-3 following a pair of run-outs, but Hasan flayed the Sri Lankan attack with his hard and clean hitting. He added 91 for the fourth wicket with skipper Mohammad Ashraful (26).
Naeem Islam (12 not out) finished the match in the 24th over when he lofted unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis over long-on for a six, with Hasan just eight runs short of his third one-day century.
"Shakib played a brilliant innings," said Ashraful.
"We played professional cricket and the guys bowled and fielded well. I hope we play well in the final."
Hasan, 21, was not the only star in the Bangladeshi victory as debutant fast bowler Rubel Hossain (4-33) and paceman Mashrafe Mortaza (3-25) earlier shared seven wickets to restrict Sri Lanka to a modest total.
Sri Lanka were 95-3 following Sanath Jayasuriya's 54, before losing their last seven wickets for 52 runs, with the 19-year-old Hossain striking at regular intervals in the closing overs.
"It was a bit difficult batting first," said Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene.
"But there was no excuse for falling 25-30 runs short. Credit should go to Shakib and I don't think we can blame the bowlers much."
The tourists were struggling at 4-2 after being put in to bat, but veteran left-handed opener Jayasuriya steadied the innings with a 71-run stand for the third wicket with Jayawardene (28).
Mortaza did the early damage when he trapped Upul Tharanga with his third delivery and then bowled Kumar Sangakkara in his next over, with both batsmen failing to open their accounts.
The paceman then held a return catch to remove Jayasuriya, who struck seven fours in his 67th half-century. The Sri Lankan also completed 1,000 runs against Bangladesh during his 64-ball knock.
Chamara Kapugedera was the other notable contributor with a 30-ball 28, but the remaining batsmen failed to cope with the Bangladeshi pace duo in the closing overs.