Sri Lanka warm-up for Asia Cup final with win over Bangladesh
Sri Lanka warmed up for Saturday's Asia Cup cricket final against Pakistan with a three-wicket win over hosts Bangladesh in the last league match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Thursday
Mirpur (Bangladesh): Sri Lanka fought hard to beat hosts Bangladesh by three wickets in the last league match of the Asia Cup in Dhaka on Thursday, gearing up for the final with an all-win record.
Sri Lanka, who will meet defending champions Pakistan in the final on Saturday, kept Bangladesh down to 204-9 before overcoming early jitters to chase down the target in 49 overs.
The four-time champions won all their four matches, this time with some tight bowling and resilient batting led by skipper Angelo Mathews who hit an unbeaten 74.
Angelo Mathews and Sachithra Senanayake (right) celebrate after beating Bangladesh in their final Asia Cup league tie on Thursday. Pic/AFP
It was Mathews and Chaturanga de Silva (44) who lifted Sri Lanka from a struggling 75-5 through their sixth wicket stand of 82 runs.
Mathews was in command throughout his 103-ball knock, hitting seven boundaries and a six, while de Silva ably supported him during his 52-ball knock, smashing five fours.
Despite two late wickets, Mathews kept his cool, hitting the winning boundary towards mid-wicket.
Paceman Al-Amin Hossain finished with 2-42.
Bangladesh, whose dreams of reaching the final were shattered after Tuesday's three wicket defeat against Pakistan, had a sniff of a victory after Al-Amin removed Kusal Perera (nought) and in-form Kumar Sangakkara (two) in his first two overs.
Mahela Jayawardene (nought), Lahiru Thirimanne (33) and Ashan Priyanjan (24) were also removed before Mathews took over the responsibility of steering the team to winning shores.
Bangladesh, who won the toss and opted to bat, were left stranded after a good start.
Spinners Priyanjan (2-11) and Ajantha Mendis (2-55) put the brakes on before Thisara Perera (2-29) and Suranga Lakmal (2-32) wrapped up the middle and lower order.
Opener Anamul Haque, who scored a brilliant hundred in Bangladesh's highest one-day score of 326-3 against Pakistan on Tuesday, was once again the mainstay of the batting with an 86-ball 49.
Anamul and Shamsur Rahman (39) gave the home team a solid 74-run start before Mendis struck twice, dismissing Shamsur and Mominul Haque (one) in the 18th over.
Anamul hit two boundaries and a six during his 86-ball knock while Shamsur's 57-ball innings included six hits to the fence.
Nasir Hossain (30) and Mohammad Mahmudullah (30) shared an innings-repairing sixth wicket stand of 55 to give the total some respectability.
Shakib Al Hasan made 20.
Five-time champions India crashed out of the event on Wednesday after losing two of their four matches against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Bangladesh, who were runners-up to Pakistan in the last Asia Cup in 2012, finished the event with four defeats in as many matches.
Afghanistan was the fifth team who upset Bangladesh in their maiden appearance in the Asia Cup but lost their remaining three matches.
Anamul Haque c Thirimanne b Priyanjan 49
Shamsur Rahman lbw b Mendis 39
Mominul Haque b Mendis 1
Mushfiqur Rahim lbw b de Silva 4
Shakib Al Hasan c Mathews b Priyanjan 20
Nasir Hossain c Jayawardene b Lakmal 30
Mohammad Mahmudullah b Lakmal 30
Ziaur Rahman b Thisara 12
Arafat Sunny not out 2
Rubel Hossain b Thisara 0
Al-Amin Hossain not out 0
Extras: (b4, lb3, w10) 17
Total: (for nine wkts; 50 overs) 204
Fall of wickets: 1-74 (Shamsur), 2-76 (Haque), 3-87 (Rahim), 4-106 (Anamul), 5-119 (Shakib), 6-174 (Mahmudullah), 7-183 (Nasir), 8-203 (Rahman), 9-203 (Hossain)
Bowling: Lakmal 10-0-32-2 (1w), Thisara 8-0-29-2 (1w), Senanayake 10-1-37-0 (2w), de Silva 10-0-33-1, Mendis 9-0-55-2 (6w), Priyanjan 3-0-11-2
K. Perera c Anamul b Al-Amin 0
L. Thirimanne c Hossain b Sunny 33
K. Sangakkara c Nasir b Al-Amin 2
M. Jayawardene run out 0
A. Priyanjan c Anamul b Rahman 24
A. Mathews not out 74
C. de Silva c Anamul b Mahmudullah 44
T. Perera run out 15
S. Senanayake not out 7
Extras: (b4, w5) 9
Total: (For seven wkts; 49 overs) 208
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Perera), 2-6 (Sangakkara), 3-8 (Jayawardene), 4-47 (Priyanjan), 5-75 (Thirimanne), 6-157 (de Silva), 7-193 (Thisara)
Bowling: Al-Amin 10-2-42-2 (1w), Hossain 6-0-25-0, Shakib 10-0-27-0 (2w), Rahman 10-0-34-1, Sunny 7-0-46-1 (1w), Mahmudullah 6-1-30-1 (1w)
Result: Sri Lanka won by three wickets
Umpires: Billy Bowden (NZL) and Bruce Oxenford (AUS)
TV umpire: Ahsan Raza (PAK)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)