Mushfiqur ton sets up Sri Lanka rout in Asia Cup opener

Courtesy of Mushfiqur's 144 off 150 balls, aided by a disciplined bowling unit and an ordinary batting display from the opponent, Bangladesh thumped Sri Lanka by 137 runs.

Mushfiqur Rahim scored a career best in ODIs (144 runs, 150b, 11x4, 4x6) as Bangladesh thumped Sri Lanka by 137 runs in a Group B Asia Cup tie.   -  AFP

Veteran Lasith Malinga made a grand comeback to international cricket with a four-for that included twin strikes in the opening over of the match. But Mushifqur Rahim, the diminutive dasher gave his team and the Bangladesh supporters, who converted Dubai into Dhaka with their vociferous support, the most ideal start to its Asia Cup campaign.

Courtesy of Mushfiqur's career best in ODIs (144 runs, 150b, 11x4, 4x6), aided by a disciplined bowling unit and an ordinary batting display from the opponent, Bangladesh thumped Sri Lanka by 137 runs in a Group B tie at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Key Highlights

The momentum from Mushfiqur's late charge, which saw him score 52 of the 63 runs Bangladesh added in the last 10 overs, carried on to the new-ball bowlers who bowled an inspired spell. The Sri Lankan batting line-up, heavily reliant on Angelo Mathews, crumbled under the pressure. Once Mashrafe Mortaza and Mustafizur Rahman had reduced Sri Lanka to 38 for four in the fifth over, it was all but clear that the Tigers would lord the Lions.

 



Rubel Hossain's wicket of Mathews - the Lankan captain plumb in front - was the last nail in the coffin. It left Sri Lanka reeling at 63 for six in the 18th over. Dilruwan Perera and Suranga Lakmal helped Sri Lanka get to three figures but their 24-run partnership was only going to drag the proceedings on for longer, with no impact on the fate of the match.

Mushfiqur and Mohammad Mithun, who scored 63, had to brave a Malinga at his marauding best. When Mushfiqur took guard six balls into the tournament, Malinga had forced a nick off opener Liton Das' blade and then crashed through the defence of veteran Shakib Al Hasan off the last two balls of the first over. Even before he saved the hat-trick with a defensive prod off Malinga's next over, Mushfiqur had lost Tamim Iqbal who retired hurt after the last ball of Suranga Lakmal's over thumped into his wrist.

READ | Tamim Iqbal ruled out of Asia Cup

Sri Lanka was made to regret its sloppiness on the field. If Mushfiqur and Mithun weren't dropped in the early stages of the game, the match could have taken on a completely different hue. The Bangladeshi duo ensured they made optimum use of lives with a 131-run partnership that put their team on top.

Malinga ended the partnership in the 27th over when Mithun mistimed a pull and wicket-keeper Kusal Perera did not miss the skier. In his next over, Malinga continued his fairytale return to international cricket as he got the wicket of Mamudullah, who was caught easily by Dhananjya de Silva at cover.

Despite Mushfiqur notching up his sixth international hundred, Bangladesh was in a spot of bother when Mustafizur Rahman fell as the ninth victim in the 47th over. Tamim, who has been ruled out of the Asia Cup with a fractured wrist and finger, walked out to join Mushfiqur amidst roars from the fans. With a heavily strapped left wrist and four fingers, barring the thumb, popping out of the glove, he survived the solitary ball he faced in the 17-ball 32-run partnership.

Mushfiqur cut loose in the next three overs, pulling anything short over the cow corner, despatching one that was pitched up over the covers and even pulling out his innovative scoop over the head of the keeper to help Bangladesh cross 250-mark in no time. It took a diving effort from Kusal Mendis at long-on to deprive Mushfiqur of becoming only the second Bangladeshi batsman to score 150 in an ODI.