Shakib al Hasan hit an unbeaten 92 to guide Bangladesh to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka yesterday and a place in the final of their triangular one-day series.
Bangladesh had to win with a considerable margin to get a place in the final at the expense of Zimbabwe, and reached the 148-run target with seven overs to spare.
Hasan’s knock of 92 from 69 balls with 10 fours and two sixes rescued the hosts from early trouble, having slipped to 11-3.
Openers Junaid Siddique (0) and Tamim Iqbal (9) were run out, while Thilan Thushara had Mushfiqur Rahim (1) caught behind.
Hasan and captain Mohammad Ashraful put on 91 runs for the fourth wicket in a stand that turned the course of the match.
Nuwan Kulasekara broke the partnership when Ashraful (26) was caught near the boundary. Ajantha Mendis then dismissed Raqibul Hasan (3) cheaply, putting the match back in the balance with Bangladesh on 126-5.
Hasan and Naeem Islam (12) reached the winning target, with Islam hitting a four and then a six off the final two balls, giving Bangladesh a bonus point to overhaul Zimbabwe. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will meet again in tomorrow’s final.
Earlier, a strong bowling performance, highlighted by four wickets on debut by 19-year-old Rubel Hossain, justified Bangladesh’s decision to send Sri Lanka in to bat after winning the toss.
After the start was delayed by fog, reducing the contest to 31 overs per side, Sri Lanka opener Sanath Jayasuriya hit a half century but the visitors’ innings fell apart late, losing their last five wickets for just 23 runs.
Sri Lanka were in trouble early, stumbling to 4-2 after Mashrafe bin Mortaza trapped opener Upul Tharanga lbw and then bowled Kumar Sangakkara.
But Jayasuriya took up the reins with captain Mahela Jayawardene, adding 71 runs for the third wicket before Islam had the skipper caught at midwicket on 28.
Jayasuriya (54), partnered by Chamara Kapugedara, lifted the score to 95 before being caught and bowled by Mortaza.
Sri Lanka lost their next three middle-order wickets for just six runs.
Hossain got his first international wicket when he dismissed Angelo Mathews (2), after Jehan Mubarak was run out on 10.
The visitors were reduced to 130-7 when Mahbubul Alam bowled Kapugedera (28).
Hossain then dismissed Kulasekara (5), and Thushara (0) and took the last wicket of Ajantha Mendis (0) as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 147.