Dhaka, Mar 20: Dhaka, Mar 20: It was a historic Tuesday for Bangladesh as they reached the Asia Cup final for the first time. The hosts defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets via the Duckworth-Lewis method to set up a final meeting with Pakistan on March 22, Thursday.
Chasing a revised target of 212 off 40 overs, Bangladesh got home in 37.1 overs losing five wickets. Nasir Hossain hit the winning runs, a boundary off Suranga Lakmal as the home crowd erupted in joy along with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who watched the match at the stadium. Shakib Al Hasan (56 and two wickets) was adjudged the Man-of-the-match.
Pakistan topped the league table with nine points while India and Bangladesh were tied with eight each. Since Bangladesh had beaten Indian in the league stage, they progressed to the final ahead of their neighbours. Sri Lanka failed to score a point.
This win for Bangladesh sent defending champions India home. For the first time since 2004, India and Sri Lanka will not be in the final. They had contested the previous three editions' finals with Sri Lanka winning two of them. Sri Lanka, who have finished first or second in Asia Cup since its inception in 1984, slumped to the bottom without a win in three league games.
Bangladesh fans started celebrating at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Tuesday night and the celebrations are likely to continue late into the night.
India are the most successful team in Asia Cup with five titles followed by Sri Lanka with four. Pakistan have won once, that was here in Bangladesh in 2000.
As soon as the Sri Lankan innings was over, it started raining. There was a delay of more than 100 minutes and finally when play started at 7.30 PM IST, Bangladesh's innings was reduced to 40 overs and a target of 212 runs.
Birthday boy Iqbal scored his third successive half century in the tournament. The left-handed Iqbal, who turned 23 on Tuesday, celebrated his birthday by being aggressive right from the start.
Iqbal aggregated 193 runs in three league games. The opener was initially left out of the squad but was added later. What a way to reply to his omission!
It was Iqbal (59) and another left-hander Shakib Al Hasan (56) who raised Bangladesh's hopes in the chase. Shakib too registered his half century.
Both Iqbal and Shakib made quick runs. There were some delightful shots on the offside from both the left-handers.
Shakib struck three consecutive boundaries on the offside off Suranga Lakmal in the 11th over.
Offspinner Sachithra Senanayake, after dropping Iqbal off his own bowling, made up for that lapse by taking Iqbal's wicket. He accounted for Shakib too as Bangladesh were 135/5 in 23.2 overs.
Nuwan Kulasekara put Bangladesh in early trouble when he bowled opener Nazimuddin and captain Mushfiqur Rahim. Bangladesh lost their first three wickets for 40 runs in 7.1 overs. Then came a 76-run partnership between Iqbal and Shakib.
The good work did not go waste as Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah Riyad finished off the job with an undefeated partnership of 77 runs in 13.5 overs. Hossain was unbeaten on 36 while Mahmudullah was 32 not out as they celebrated mid-pitch once the victory was achieved in the 38th over.
Sri Lanka Innings Report
Earlier, rain had delayed restart of the game as Bangladesh brightened their chances of qualifying for the Asia Cup final by restricting Sri Lanka to 232 in 49.5 overs.
If Bangladesh win today's contest, that will put India out of the competition. Then it will be Bangladesh-Pakistan final on Thursday at the same venue.
Backed by the support of a strong crowd, Bangladesh bowlers struck early to reduce Sri Lanka to 32/3 in 9.2 overs. However, Chamara Kapugedera and Lahiru Thirimanne had a partnership to put the Islanders back on track before the hosts came back strongly to dismiss their batsmen in 49.5 overs.
Right-arm paceman Nazmul Hossain was the early star for Bangladesh as he removed three big wickets at the start of the innings. He got Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara's wickets. Those three early blows boosted the hosts. Hossain ended with figures of 3/32 in eight overs.
Left-arm spinners Shakib Al Hasan and Abdur Razzak took two wickets apiece to check the flow of runs in the middle of the innings.
Kapugedera, who was playing in place of Dinesh Chandimal, topscored for Sri Lanka. He made 62 and was involved in a 88-run stand with Thirimanne (48). Upul Tharanga contributed 48 runs. Apart from these three batsmen, the rest failed to make an impact.
Sri Lanka are already out of the reckoning for a berth in the final, having lost both their league fixtures before this game.
Toss Report: Bangladesh win toss, to field first
Sri Lanka will bat first after Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim won the toss and chose to field.
Bangladesh need to win today to progress to the final while Sri Lanka are playing for pride as they are already out of the tournament. A tie or no result or a Sri Lankan win will set up India-Pakistan final.
In his pitch report, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said the wicket is good for batting. He added that there is a chance of rain later in the day.
Sri Lanka made two changes, Dinesh Chandimal and Seekkuge Prasanna are replaced by Chamara Kapugedera and Sachithra Senanayake. Captain Mahela Jayawardene said Chandimal woke up with a bad stomach.
Bangladesh made one change, bringing Nazmul Hossain for Shafiul Islam.
Pakistan are already in the final to be played on March 22, Thursday. They await their opponents now.
Pakistan head the points table with nine points followed by India with eight. Bangladesh have four while Sri Lanka are still on nought after two losses.
If Bangladesh win today without a bonus point, then they will be tied with India on points. In that scenario, head-to-head record will determine the finalist and it will put hosts in the summit clash as they had beaten India in the league phase.
India will be hoping for a Sri Lankan win to help them meet their arch rival Pakistan again on Thursday.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedera, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Farveez Maharoof, Sachithra Senanayake, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal.
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Mahmudullah (vice-captain), Tamim Iqbal, Nazimuddin, Jahurul Islam, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza, Abdur Razzak, Nazmul Hossain, Shahadat Hossain.
Umpires: Steve Davis and Paul Reiffel (both Australia)
Third Umpire: S Ravi (India)
Match Referee: David Boon (Australia)