Tigers stumble in Asia Cup opener
Bangladesh started their Asia Cup campaign horribly, losing to co-hosts Sri Lanka by five wickets following an abysmal batting display in Pallekele yesterday.
Despite a 122-ball 89 from Najmul Hossain Shanto, the Tigers were bundled out for a meagre 164-run total in just 42.4 overs. Sri Lanka lost a few early wickets and also suffered a wobble at the end but, with no scoreboard pressure, managed to cruise to victory with 66 balls to spare.
Hopes were raised in the Bangladesh camp when Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, and skipper Shakib Al Hasan removed the Sri Lankan top order, reducing them to three for 43 in 9.2 overs.
However, Sadeera Samarawickrama and Charith Asalanka stitched together a 78-run fourth-wicket stand, all but securing their path to victory.
Samarawickrama scored his fourth ODI fifty – a 77-ball 54 – while Asalanka was unbeaten on 62 off 92 deliveries as the defending champions began the six-nation tournament on a strong note.
The defeat in their first game will see Shakib and his troops under a lot of pressure as qualifying for the Super Four stage now becomes more tricky for the Tigers, who came into the tournament with a lot of expectations.
Thanks to the hybrid model being followed in this Asia Cup, Bangladesh will now have to travel to Lahore and beat Afghanistan in their final group-stage game on September 3. On top of that, the Tigers will also hope for Sri Lanka to beat Afghanistan in the other group game in order to qualify for the Super Four without bringing run-rate into the equation.
Yesterday, Bangladesh saw a batting meltdown with no batter other than Shanto, who smashed seven boundaries on way to his fourth ODI fifty, managing to register a decent score.
Debutant Tanzid Hasan Tamim was dismissed after scoring four while Naim Sheikh looked uncomfortable before being dismissed on 14. Shakib was dismissed for a cheap score of five as Bangladesh found themselves struggling at 36 for three inside eleven overs.
Shanto, however, remained firm at the other end, scoring the bulk of the runs. He too was under pressure, losing batting partners at regular intervals.
Towhid Hridoy's 20 off 41 was the second-highest score for Bangladesh while Mushfiqur Rahim (13), Mehedi Hasan Miraz (5), and Mahedi Hasan (6) all failed to put up a partnership and were eventually bundled out with 44 balls to spare.