Sri Lanka beats Bangladesh by 3 wickets

Associated Press
Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews plays a shot during the Asia Cup one-day international cricket tournament match against Bangladesh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)
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MIRPUR, Bangladesh (AP) — Captain Angelo Mathews struck 74 not out as Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by three wickets on Thursday to ride into the Asia Cup final unbeaten.

Sri Lanka, which had already clinched a finals berth, takes on defending champion Pakistan on Saturday after finishing the round-robin with four wins in row.

After Bangladesh made 204-9, Sri Lanka recovered from 75-5 to reach 208-7 in the 49th over.

Mathews led the comeback, combining for 82 with Chaturanga de Silva in 16 overs to put Sri Lanka back on track. De Silva hit a career-best 44 off 52, including five fours.

In an otherwise pretty organized innings, Mathews knocked seven fours and one six in 103 balls to ruin host Bangladesh's party at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. Bangladesh, the finalist two years ago, couldn't win a match this time.

Al-Amin Hossain returned figures of 2-42 while Ziaur Rahman, Arafat Sunny and Mahmudullah picked up one wicket apiece.

Hossain had Sri Lanka in trouble by dismissing Kusal Perera for a duck and in-form Kumar Sangakkara on 2 in his first two overs.

A direct throw by Mahmudullah in the next over ran out Mahela Jayawardene for a duck to leave Sri Lanka on 8-3.

Lahiru Thirimanne and Ashan Priyanjan briefly revived the innings but Rahman brightened Bangladesh's chances by removing Priyanjan on 24 with an outswinger which Priyanjan was unable to leave. Thirimanne holed out a tossed up delivery from Arafat Sunny to be caught by Rubel Hossain at long-on.

However, Mathews lifted Sri Lanka out of the hole by running singles and keeping the scoreboard turning over.

By contrast, Bangladesh made a bright start, collapsed, came alive again and slumped at the end.

Fresh from his second career century against Pakistan, opener Anamul Haque yet again gave his struggling side impetus with a team-best 49, sharing 74 with fellow opener Shamsur Rahman, 39.

Haque hit two fours and one six in his patient 86-ball knock but was out to a stunning catch by Thirimanne at midwicket. Haque flicked Priyanjan's turning delivery and Thirimanne jumped high to reach the ball but fell, then recovered quickly to jump forward to take the low catch.

Bangladesh slid to 119-5 but Nasir Hossain and Mahmudullah were guiding them back to respectability until fast bowler Suranga Lakmal came back for his second spell to remove both of them for 30 each.

Thisara Perera in the last over got Rahman and Rubel Hossain in consecutive deliveries to raise a prospect of hat trick, but Al-Amin Hossain however denied him.

For Sri Lanka, Priyanjan, Lakmal, Thisara Perera and Mendis claimed two wickets apiece.

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