Mushfiqur Rahim starred with the bat, providing a stunning finish as Bangladesh chased down 215 to register a comprehensive 5-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the 3rd T20I in the Nidahas Trophy on Saturday.
Set a huge total of 215, Bangladesh promoted Liton Das to open the innings and that move paid immediate dividends as he scored a quick-fire 43 off just 19 balls.
He was provided support by hard hitting Tamim Iqbal who went for his shots right from ball 1 as Bangladesh got off to a dream start, reaching 74 at the end of the powerplay and losing only 1 wicket in the process.
Soumya Sarkar struggled to get runs on a flat pitch, scoring 24 off 22 balls but it seemed that the Lankan bowlers would pull things back.
However, Mushfiqur used all his experience, picking boundaries at will and not wilting under pressure as he scored an unbeaten 72 off just 35 balls.
Bangladesh were also aided by some poor fielding from the Sri Lankans, especially under pressure and those moments proved to be the difference between the two teams.
Earlier, blazing half-centuries by Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera powered Sri Lanka to a formidable 214 for six.
Mendis (57) and Perera (74) toyed with the Bangladesh attack with a flurry of boundaries and sixes, to the delight of the home crowd at the Premadasa Stadium.
Invited to bat after a drizzle delayed the toss by 15 minutes, Sri lanka were off to a flying start with Mendis putting on 56 runs for the opening wicket with Danushka Gunathilaka (26).
Bangladesh pacers were guilty of bowling short and the Lankans took full advantage of that, pummelling them for 70 runs in the six mandatory powerplay overs.
That the visitors persisted with bowling short despite getting smacked, too helped Sri Lanka’s cause.
Mendis hit 57 off 30 balls with the help of five sixes and two fours, Perera found the fence eight times and cleared it twice in his 48-ball knock.
That set the tone for a big total and even though Mustafizur Rahman cleaned up Gunathilaka, the hosts were sitting pretty at the halfway stage at 98 for one.
There was a lull though, from seventh to ninth over, as the hosts managed just 16 runs in 18 balls.
The well-settled Mendis hoiked Nazmul Islam over square leg for a six to break the shackles.
It was then the turn of the other Kusal – Perera – as he smashed Mehidy Hasan for a six and four, helping Sri Lanka race to 111 for one at the end of 11th over.
Continuing his stellar run at the top, Mendis meanwhile welcomed Mustafizur with a six and brought up his fifty in just 26 balls, his third half-century in four innings.
Bangladesh had a breakthrough but not before Mendis sent a Mahmudullah delivery soaring over deep mid-wicket for another maximum.
Dasun Shanaka and Dinesh Chandimal fell cheaply but Upul Tharanga helped Sri Lanka score 17 runs in the 17th over with the help of two boundaries and a six. Tharanga was unbeaten on a breezy 32 off 15 balls.
Meanwhile, Perera continued his onslaught on the Bangladesh bowlers, and was mostly dealing in boundaries. He got out while going for one too many, getting stumped off Mustafizur.
Mustafizur Rahman (3/48) and Mahmudullah (2/15) were the most successful bowlers for Bangladesh.