Bangladesh 212-5 (Tamim Iqbal 59, Shakib Al Hasan 56, Nuwan Kulasekara 2-30) beat Sri Lanka 232 (Chamara Kapugedera 62, Nazmul Hossain 3-32) by five wickets.
Bangladesh rattled Sri Lanka by five wickets and qualified for the final of the Asia Cup 2012 as India had to pack their bags directing towards home.
India was banking on the match to get a berth in the final which was only possible if the Islanders had beaten the home side.
Shakib Al Hasan was declared ‘Player of the match’ for his all round performance as he smashed 56 runs, grabbed two wickets and one impossible catch.
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, ‘Sheikh Hasina’ was among the capacity home crowd which kept on backing their team throughout the match.
Sri Lanka scored 232 runs before they were bowled out in 49.5 overs and Bangladesh was given a task to chase 212 runs in 40 overs after the imposition of the Duckworth-Lewis method due to rain interruption.
The sixth match of the tournament took place at Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur on March 20, 2012.
Earlier, Mushfiqur Rahim won the toss and preferred to chase keeping in the back of his mind the important victory against India by five wickets while batting second on March 16, 2012. The decision proved vital as Nazmul Hossain got rid of three top wickets for just 32 runs in 9.2 overs which included Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara.
Two youngsters, Chamara Kapugedara and Lahiru Thirimanne put their heads down, saw through the anxious moments and gradually consolidated the inning. The first 100 of the innings was scored in the 28th over and they added another 20 runs before the home side got the breakthrough.
Thirimanne was smartly stumped by Mushfiqur Rahim off Abdur Razzak for 48 scored on 73 balls with 3 fours. Upul Tharanga came in next, joined in with Kapugedera and the consolidation was carried on by them. They accumulated 49 runs for the fifth wicket when the latter was gone for 62 off 92 with 4 fours.
Tharanga held one end as the wickets started tumbling from the other side and he became the eighth victim for 48 from 44 balls with the assistance of one six and five fours. The whole team was bowled out for 232 runs with one delivery to spare as the rain started pouring in.
Nazmul was the highest wicket taker with three, Abdur Razzak and Shakib Al Hasan held two each as Mashrafe Mortaza and Shahadat Hossain claimed one wicket each.
Rain affected the game and Sri Lanka was benefited as the target was revised to 212 runs in 40 overs as per Duckworth-Lewis method.
Bangladesh also faced the same fate which was suffered by the rivals early in the innings by losing their initial three wickets for 40 runs in 7.1 overs as Nuwan Kulasekara struck twice. The opener, Tamim Iqbal was doing well when the solid all rounder Shakib Al Hasan came in the centre.
The duo demonstrated a courageous stand and especially Shakib changed his gears by dispatching three fours in the 11th over off Suranga Lakmal. Tamim joined him later in the innings and punished Farveez Maharoof for a couple of fours in the 17th over which brought the first hundred of the innings. He was spared his inning at 51 when Sachithra Senanayake dropped him off his own bowling on the first ball of the 18th over.
The chance could not be further utilised by him however, as he was caught by Thirimmane at point off Senanayake for 59 from 57 deliveries with 9 fours. The fourth wicket contributed 76 runs as the promising Nasir Hossain came in to bat when the match was evenly poised.
Shakib achieved another fifty of his career on the last ball of the 22nd over by sending the ball out of the rope. He was declared leg before wicket for 56 off 46 balls with the help of 7 fours at the total of 135 and the Lankan Lions came back into the game.
Mahmudullah took guards and the march towards victory started with Nasir who was on charge at the other end and 200 of the innings was posted on board in the 36th over. Nasir got the honours by dispatching the winning four on the first ball of the 38th over as the crowd erupted with joy and applauded their young heroes.
Nuwan Kulasekara and Sachithra Senanayake were the top wicket takers with two wickets each as Suranga Lakmal got one.
Bangladesh won the deciding match by five wickets and consequently reached the final of the Asia Cup for the first time as India must have been contemplating on what could have been after been thrown out of the tournament. The final will be played between Bangladesh and Pakistan on March 22, 2012 and the hosts will certainly strive hard to clinch the title for the first time in their cricketing history.