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Bangladesh reach first Asia Cup final
After failing in nine Asia Cups, Bangladesh will face Pakistan in the final after victory over Sri Lanka.
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2012 18:09
Shakib Al Hasan (L) smashed a half-century to help Bangladesh to the final [AFP]

Bangladesh reached their first Asia Cup final when they cruised past Sri Lanka by five wickets with nearly three overs to spare in a rain-disrupted match on Tuesday.

Having failed at nine previous Asia Cups, Bangladesh will meet Pakistan in the final on Thursday at the same Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium having upset both finalists from last year's World Cup.

Bangladesh's victory helped them leapfrog World Cup and Asia Cup champions India into the final. Pakistan have won the biennial event only once, in 2000, when they last appeared in the final. Winless Sri Lanka were already assured of
missing the final for the first time.

After limiting Sri Lanka to 232 in 49.5 overs, Bangladesh were handicapped by a mid-innings downpour which reduced the winning target to 212 but increased the required run rate from 40 overs.

The home side wobbled at the start then Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan smashed half centuries to help them reach the target in 37.1 overs.

After Bangladesh were reduced to 40-3, Iqbal (59 off 57 balls) and Shakib (56 off 46 balls) added 76 in their fourth-wicket stand to revive their hopes, and Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah continued the fight under pressure from tight bowling.

Nasir Hossain knocked off the winning runs with a straight drive to the boundary off Suranga Lakmal and finished 36 not out.

Mahmuduallah was with him unbeaten on 32, having partnered for 77 in almost 14 overs.

For Sri Lanka, Nuwan Kulasekara finished with figures of 2-30 while Sachitra Senanayake took 2-38.

Sri Lanka slump

Earlier, Sri Lanka posted a mediocre total after Nazmul Hossain took 3-32 and Shakib and Abdur Razzak two wickets each.

Chamara Kapugedera topscored with 62 off 92 balls while Upul Tharanga and Lahiru Thirimanne collected 48 each as Sri Lanka looked for a consolation win.

Of the eight other batsmen, only three could reach double figures after Bangladesh won the toss and decided to field first.

Nazmul set the course for Bangladesh as he claimed openers Mahela Jayawardene (5) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (19), and Kumar Sangakkara (6), who came in at No. 3, reducing Sri Lanka to 3-32.

Kapugedera and Thirimanne stopped the slide with a stand of 88 before Thirimanne was stumped in the 32nd over.

Kapugedera was Abdur Razzak's second wicket in the 40th over at 169-5. Tharanga pushed the run rate to better than expected with 48 off 44 balls, including a six and five boundaries, before he was caught behind off Shahadat Hossain in the 46th.

Bangladesh made one change to its XI, bringing in Nazmul for Shafiul Islam, who injured a shoulder in the previous game against India.

Sri Lanka made two changes from last week's game against India, resting Dinesh Chandimal and Seekkuge Prasanna to include Senanayake and Kapugedara.

Source:
AP
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