Lanka sweep abject Tigers

Bangladesh team, Bangladeshi Cricketer

The Bangladesh team were left to reflect upon a month of sub-par cricket after Sri Lanka concluded a dominant tour by winning the second T20I by 75 runs at the Sylhet International Stadium yesterday. Photo: Firoz Ahmed

 

Is there anyone interested to know the details of the mismatch at the Sylhet International Stadium yesterday that Sri Lanka won by a massive 75 runs against a hopelessly out-of-sorts Bangladesh? Not really. Most of the passionate cricket followers in this part of the world were not even bothered to watch the full length of the game that was telecast live.

For those who stayed tuned till Danushka Gunathilaka had Abu Jayed stumped to take the last Bangladesh wicket at 135 in 18.4 overs, they would have definitely felt one last pinch to a deep wound that will last a long time. Gunathilaka did a snake dance mocking Bangladesh left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam and in the Sri Lanka dugout Chandika Hathurusingha was framed at his most radiant.

The victory capped off a remarkable turnaround for Sri Lanka after a listless 2017 as they completed a clean sweep of series against Bangladesh under coach Hathurusingha, who is leading the Lankans for the first time since deserting Bangladesh following the South Africa tour late last year. It is as if Hathurusingha has taken the magic wand with him after leading Bangladesh to so many wins in his three-year tenure with the Tigers.

Yesterday's win sealed a 2-0 T20I series sweep for Sri Lanka. They also won the ODI tri-series final against Bangladesh and clinched the two-match Test series 1-0 in the month-long tour.

Bangladesh came out in the final game to salvage some pride at a venue which was hosting the Tigers for the first time. But they disappointed the packed audience who had little to cheer after Sri Lanka posted a massive 210 for four with opener Kusal Mendis hitting a sublime 42-ball 70. His 98-run opening stand with Gunathilaka not only mocked Bangladesh's decision to bowl first but also set the platform for a huge total. Gunathilaka, who was dropped twice, scored a 37-ball 42. The big-hitting Thisara Perera came up in the batting order and made sure the momentum was maintained with a 17-ball 37 while Shanaka provided the perfect finish with an 11-ball 30.

 

Bangladesh, with a history of successful chases not exceeding 165, were never in the hunt after losing three wickets for 22 runs in three overs. Soumya Sarkar, who hit a half-century in the first game in Dhaka, scored a four-ball duck. Mushfiqur Rahim scored six and Mohammed Mithun, who came in place of Zakir Hasan, departed for five. Tamim Iqbal scored 26 and skipper Mahmudullah scored the team-highest 41. But those efforts were not enough to scale a mountain.

Bangladesh made four changes from the first game. Tamim returned after sitting out the first game in Dhaka due to a stiff left arm. Local boy Jayed made his international debut, wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammed Mithun, a surprise entrant, and young off-spinning all-rounder Mahedi Hasan also made his international debut. Sabbir Rahman was dropped along with Afif Hossain , Zakir Hasan and Rubel Hossain.

The selectors kept faith in young pace bowling all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin, but he disappointed with the ball again, conceding 46 runs in his four overs. Even an otherwise dependable Mustafizur Rahman was expensive, conceding 39 runs in his four overs. His last over produced four boundaries, three on the trot, and yielded 17 runs.

Only left-arm spinner Nazmul earned some respect from the Sri Lankans. He gave away 28 runs in his four overs.

Bangladesh will embark on a more challenging tri-nation T20 tournament in Sri Lanka next month which will feature India as the other team. The Bangladesh Cricket Board resorted to a makeshift arrangement after the sudden departure of Hathurusingha. The board president publicly preached that senior players are good enough to mentor the team in the interim. But after the first major home disappointment post-Hathurusingha, the BCB boss will certainly sing a different song. We do not need to wait long for the BCB boss to come out with something different sooner or later.

Tigers lose three in quick succession

Sri Lanka players celebrate the fall of a wicket. Photo: Firoz Ahmed

 

Bangladesh lost three wickets early on in their innings, losing Soumya Sakar, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mithun Ali inside three overs.

Soumya reached out to a Akila Dananjaya delivery way outside the off-stump and skied it to man at point in the second over. Mushfiqur Rahim opened his account with a slashed six over third-man region off Shehan Mahdushanka in the third over, but he fell in the next ball, holed out at mid-wicket trying to pull away the paceman.

Madushanka then scalped Mithun on the last ball of the third over as the batsman managed a leading edge, trying to flick one towards square-leg and was holed out at mid-wicket.

Tamim Iqbal, who has played a few good shots is unbeaten on 22 from 17 deliveries as Bangladesh reached 40 for three after six overs.

SL post 210 against Tigers

SL 210/4, Shanaka 30*, Chandimal 2*

 

Dasun Shanaka and Upul Tharanga ensure that Sri Lanka finished with a flurry as they put on 45 off just 18 deliveries. Tharanga fell in the final over, out for 25 while Shanaka remained unbeaten on a 11-ball 30 as Sri Lanka reached 210 from their 20 overs for the loss of four wickets.

Earlier, Kusal Mendis played a magnificent knock of 70 from 42 deliveries with six fours before he fell to Mustafizur Rahman as Mahedi took an excellent catch at wide long-on.

Soumya Sarkar made the first breakthrough for Bangladesh after a 98- run opening stand between Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunalthilaka as he removed the latter after scoring 42 off 37 balls.

The first Powerplay brought 63 runs but the next six overs produced only 45 runs and Lankans promoted hard-hitting Thisara Perera up the order to accelerate the run scoring. Thisara was looking increasingly dangerous and in the 14th over he hit Kusal Perera for two fours and a six before Rahi removed him in the 16th over, holed out at long on.

Lankans start aggressively

Sri Lanka have started their innings aggressively from the get go and piled up 63 runs in the first powerplay.

Debutant Rahi bowled the first over of the innings and showed promise as he got some swing right from the get go. However, he strayed in line and Mendis picked up two boundaries in the first over. Danushka Gunathilaka hit some beautiful Sixes with one off Mahedi in the third over and the other off Nazmul Islam in the fourth over.  

Mendis also showed aggression hitting Nazmul for six in the fourth over and then Mahedi in the sixth over as Sri Lanka are in a strong position without the loss of a wicket after six overs.

Tamim returns in Rahi, Mahedi's debut as Tigers bowl

Bangladesh have won the toss and elected to bowl first in what is their first International match at the SICS.

Abu Jayed Rahid and Mahedi Hasan are set to make their debut for the Tigers in this match. Sri Lanka lead the T20 series 1-0 following their six-wicket victory in the first game. Afif Hossain and Zakir Hasan have been dropped while Tamim Iqbal makes a return after sitting out the first game of the series.

Bangladesh XI: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Mithun (wk), Mahmudullah Riyad, Ariful Haque, Mahedi Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Nazmul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Abu Jayed Rahi

Sri Lanka XI: Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal (capt/wk), Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Amila Aponso, Akila Dananjaya, Shehan Madushanka, Isuru Udana

We still have pride to play for, says Mahmudullah

Bangladesh cricket team

Bangladesh team during a practice session at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium. Photo: Firoz Ahmed

 

Following their losses to Sri Lanka in the tri-series and the Test series, Tigers also lost the first of the two-match T20 series by six wickets and skipper Mahmudullah Riyad insists that their pride is still at stake in the last match of the T20 series.

The best that Tigers can manage right now is a win in the final match to draw the series and Mahmudullah insisted that they are looking to motivate themselves to achieve a result.

“We didn’t get expected results in the tri-nation and the Test series. But we still have the pride to play in the last game. We are trying to get motivated enough to draw the T20 series,” Riyad said.

He also suggested that there could be changes in the side for the final T20 and informed that Tamim Iqbal, who sat out the first game is likely to play the match.

“Everyone has a chance to play. We might change our combination.

“He [Tamim] is a lot better, and he is likely to play,” Riyad informed.

 

Tigers have not been able to perform up to expectations and in the final T20 it might be likely that they would find it hard to motivate themselves. Riyad however rejected such notions and reiterated that playing for one’s country is motivation enough.

“It has to come from within. You are representing your team and country, there can’t be anything more to motivate yourself,” Riyad concluded.

'This is how they thank us!’: Dijon joke after PSG's defeat

Neymar

Neymar during the match against Real Madrid on February 14, 2018. Photo: AFP

 

Following the loss to Real Madrid, PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot brought into focus the fact that playing and scoring against Dijon is fun but PSG players needed to raise their level in the Champions League. Dijon posted on social media after Rabiot's comment and joked that they did everything to help the Paris team prior to the Madrid game but their effort was not appreciated.

PSG dominated on certain phases of the game against Madrid and even took the lead with Rabiot’s goal.

However, they conceded a penalty inside the first half and then two late goals sunk them to a 3-1 defeat at the Bernabeu.

"It's great to put eight goals past Dijon, but it is in these matches that you have to make it count," Rabiot told  beIN SPORTS.

PSG’s Brazilian star Neymar himself had netted four against Dijon in January but on Wednesday it was a different ball game as he failed to find the net when it mattered.

 

Dijon did not miss out on the opportunity to hit back at Rabiot with an entertaining reply as the French club took to twitter and wrote: "We did everything to give PSG confidence before Real Madrid... And this is how they thank us!" 

'Have to overcome fear of failure'

Out-of-form opener Soumya Sarkar will look to regain his touch as he returns to the Tigers' setup in the first T20I against Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today. PHOTO: FIROZ AHMED

 

An opportunity to win a maiden trophy in a multi-team tournament or a tri-series in the 50-over format was dashed and a good chance to win a Test series at home was shattered. Now Tigers' stand-in skipper Mahmudullah Riyad said they had the opportunity to make a big statement in the T20I format when the first match of the two-match series against Sri Lanka takes place at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.

“There exists a question mark on our ability in T20 cricket. We have to give a statement to the rest of the world. It's a very important series for us and we want to make a statement,” said Mahmudullah, exuding confidence during a pre-match press conference in Mirpur yesterday.

As the squad for the first T20I is marked with the inclusion of a significant number of new faces, the Bangladesh skipper believed that it is also an opportunity for young players to make a statement of their own.

“They [young players] have a good opportunity to make a statement that they are here to grab their place and I hope if they can play their best cricket they will be able to establish their place in the side,” said Mahmudullah, who was firm in his belief that the youngsters deserved the national call-up following good performances in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).

Now retired from T20I cricket, Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (L) met up with his teammates at the launch of journalist Sayeed Uz Zaman's book 'Brazil' yesterday, and seemed to have a few words of wisdom for current T20I skipper Mahmudullah Riyad. PHOTO: STAR

At different times Bangladesh cricket embraced new mottos like 'positive cricket,' 'aggressive cricket', 'fearless cricket', 'intent in approach', etc. and Mahmudullah yesterday added two new ones to the book when he asked for 'fearless cricket without fear of failure' and 'on-the-spot intelligence' from his players during the two-match series.

“In T20 cricket you have to understand the tactical issues. You need to examine the intention of any batsman or bowler and you have to explore everything on the spot. We have some experienced players in the team besides some new faces and we will try to play our best cricket,” said Mahmudullah.

“You should play fearless cricket in the T20 format. If you think about failure, the success rate will be diminished in this format and if you can overcome it you will get a good result. I am trying to give every member of the team this message: 'don't fear failure',” he added.

Mahmudullah was quite successful as a captain when he led Khulna Titans in the BPL and that experience has led him to believe that it is important to motivate players and give them freedom to bring the best out of them.

“I always believe that players will not perform well if you don't give them the freedom and motivate them and I will try to do the same on and off the field so that we can ensure that we play our best cricket,” said Mahmudullah.

The Bangladesh captain was also hopeful that his side will be able to make a turnaround in the T20 series after their poor showings in the tri-series and Test series.

“I must put our team ahead of any opponent in our home conditions. Although we failed to perform to our expectations in the Test and ODI series, we are hopeful. I hope we can make a turnaround by playing good cricket,” he added.

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