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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Mathews rallies Sri Lanka past Bangladesh

Mathews rallies Sri Lanka past Bangladesh

March 06, 2014 21:55 IST

Angelo MathewsSkipper Angelo Mathews held his nerve under pressure and scored an unbeaten half-century as Sri Lanka recovered from a bad start to beat Bangladesh by three wickets in the concluding league match of the Asia Cup in Mirpur on Thursday.

The Lankans, who had already qualified for the final with Pakistan, were in big trouble at eight for three in the third over, and 75 for five at the half-way stage, but Mathews (74) rescued them with a dogged knock.

- Scorecard

They chased down a 205-run target with an over to spare, and maintained their unbeaten runs streak in the tournament.

Mathews was unflustered despite having a mountain to climb. In Chaturanga de Silva (44 from 52 balls; 5x4) he found the perfect ally and together they put on a brisk 82-run partnership for the sixth wicket.

Mathews ended up unbeaten on 74 off 103 deliveries, including seven fours and one six, completing the chase by pulling Arafat Sunny to the boundary.

In the process he also registered his 19th ODI fifty.

With four victories from as many matches, Sri Lanka finished atop the table with 17 points, while Pakistan, with 13, were second.

India (9) and Afghanistan (4) placed third and fourth respectively, while hosts Bangladesh finished with the wooden spoon after four defeats.

Earlier, in pursuit of their first victory in the tournament, the hosts made three changes to their playing eleven, omitting Shafiul Islam, Abdur Razzak and Imrul Kayes and including Rubel Hossain, Arafat Sunny and Rahman.

Opener Imrul Kayes, who scored a fifty in the last match, was unavailable due to injury.

Lanka rested Lasith Malinga and brought in Sachithra Senanayake while Dinesh Chandimal made way for Priyanjan.

Continuing his brilliant form, Anamul Haque, who scored a century in the team’s record 326 against Pakistan, top-scored with 49 after Bangladesh opted to bat.

The opener hit a six and two fours en route to his 86-ball knock, before falling to Priyanjan.

In the next over, Priyanjan took the prized scalp of Shakib-al-Hasan (20), and the pace duo of Suranga Lakmal (2-32) and Thisara Perera (2-29) tightened the noose around the Bangladeshi batsmen in the death overs.

Bangladesh had a solid start with Anamul and Shamsur Rahman going along smoothly against Sri Lank's new ball bowlers Suranga Lakmal and Thisara Perera on a pitch that stayed low and had uneven bounce.

The duo scored mainly in boundaries and put on 74 runs before a dubious lbw decision by Bruce Oxenford gave Mendis the breakthrough in Rahman.

There was a double blow for Bangladesh as Mendis took another wicket in the same over, castling Mominul Haque with a low delivery.

Bangladesh then struggled and could not get a good partnership going after Chaturanga de Silva trapped in-form skipper Mushfiqur Rahim for four in the 22nd over with the total 87 for 3.

Image: Angelo Mathews