All everywhere watching the match were biting nails and had hairs raising in tension. In a tension packed match where pendulum were swinging either way, cool Mahmudullah Riyad played possibly his best innings ever, striking a penultimate ball six peeped the host to the post.
Put into bat, Sri Lanka recovered from 41/5 through a brilliant partnership of two Pereras posting a challenging 159/7. In a jump packed stadium with crowds shouting at full voice and drums beating all along Bengal Tigers almost lost their way till cool Riyad striking 43 magical runs in 18 deliveries silenced the home crowd.
Bangladesh celebrated the win with cobra dance. Bangladesh won both their matches against Sri Lanka playing much better brand of cricket than they did over the last few months.
It was a very satisfying match on a day when mates of some players of the team Manjarul Rana was killed in a tragic road accident in 2007.
Shakib inspired Bangladesh will now play the final against India on Sunday when home crowd will be watching from the stands.
It was a virtual semi final when two teams locked horns again. Return of Shakib in the team boosted the morale. He replaced young pacer Abu Hider in the team.
Sri Lanka batting first was soon reduced to 41/5 with Shakib striking the first blow removing Gunathilaka with first ball of his second over. Bangladeshis had springs in their feet.
Mustafiz struck twice removing Mendis and Shanaka, Tharanga ran himself out. When bowling miserly got rid of the other Mendis, home side collapsed to 41/5.
MDK Perera watching his compatriot’s procession back all the way was joined by NLTC Perera in a desperate rescue mission. Shakib for understandable reasons did not bowl his full quota.
The Perera pair adding 97 priceless runs in the 5th wicket partnership gave the home side at least opportunity to fight. MDKJ scored 61 in 40 deliveries while NLTC struck 58 in 37.
Apart from them only one other batsman scored double digit. Sri Lankan batting fell all over the place. 159/7 appeared at least 20 runs short though it was a great recovery from 41/5.
Bangladesh started a bit shaky losing Litton Das gone without scoring to Dhananjaya. With Shakib back in the team Bangladesh dared to throw free stroking Sabbir back in the top.
Tamim was seen in his golden touch. The pair was going along well till again a brain freeze cost Sabbir his wicket. In form Mushfiqur joined Tamim. Two of the leading Bangladeshi senior pros went about their task in clinical fashion dispatching Lankan bowling with skills and diligence.
64 runs were added in third wicket partnership before a mini collapse witnessed Bangladesh reducing to 5/120 in the 15th over. Mahmudullah was looking supreme confident.
Shakib joined him but could not stay long. Mehedi and Mustafiz came and went leaving all to Mahmudullah. Suddenly the match entered into a thrilling situation. Pendulum started swinging much to the delight of the home crowd.
12 Runs were required in the last over with Mahmudullah losing the strike. When Mahmudullah regained the strike in the last over through another run out he had only 4 balls to score 12 runs required.
He scored a four and a two in the first two. The fifth ball, the penultimate ball, he flicked for a six and match was won in emphatic fashion. His mates came all rushing and enjoyed with now Bangladeshi brand of Cobra dancing.
There was however a not to be seen incident of protest by Bangladeshi players claiming no balls of two head high short deliveries. But Shakib and Tamim admitted their mistakes. In such a festive atmosphere there could protest in a much decent manner.
Bangladesh won two matches in the tournament against host Sri Lanka. In the first match Mushfiqur was a hero scoring several sixes in his 72 runs cameo. In the second Mahmudullah struck the vital blow in the last over.
However, both turned villains failing to score only 3 runs in the last over in T20I world cup match against India. Wonder how circumstance changes.
Mahmudullah rightly was chosen as man of the match for his scintillating batting and Tamim was chosen as the best emerging played.
It will be great if Tigers can return to Dhaka carrying the trophy with them in the month of our independence day.
Bangladesh has to do extensive homework before they appear against India looking strong even with its depleted team. Bangladesh needs addressing its top order batting. Shakib possibly is not 100% fit yet.