The second game of Asia Cup 2023 has concluded. It was the first event of Group B, contested by Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Hosts have proudly won it by a massive margin of 66 balls and 5 wickets remaining. Sri Lanka, the deafening champions, were earlier on the path of losing the event. Tables turned when Sadeera and Charith Asalanka formulated a major partnership at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
Bangladesh thought it would be best to send batters first and have a big score up on the board. They could not have been more wrong, probably unaware of the damage that Matheesh Pathirana can do. Matheesha ended up taking the crown of Player of the Match to his home for picking 4 wickets at an economy of 4.17 in just 7.4 overs.
Maheesh Theekshana was the most economical bowler of the lot. Dasun Shanaka rolled him out at the right time with the intention of cramping the Bangla batting line-up. He ran for 8 overs and leaked just 19 runs with 2 wickets to his name. Maheesh also earned the credit for bowling a maiden over against a team that is infamous for putting up bad gestures under aggression.
A batter who fought on the pitch was Shanto, bringing up 89 runs for his side. However, Shakib’s men could not make it past the average score of 248 runs. Their total got restricted to just 164 runs in 42.4 overs, barely a competition in some T20 matches anymore. Online cricket betting sites, which were equally split between the two, began to incline toward the hosts.
The Lanka army got to a shaky start in the second innings. It was their time to chase a low score in the ODI format. Kusal Mendis struggled to bring out runs from his bat. His strike rate is pretty evident as it reflects 23.81 for just 5 runs off 21 balls. That’s way low for a right-handed batter who stands at the total average of 83.97 scored in 104 innings for 2950 runs. He even has 2 centuries and 22 half-centuries to his name.
It is safe to consider that he was under pressure when Dimuth Karunaratne got bowled out in the third over. Third-number batters often have to pitch themselves as an alternate opener; however, Mendis trembled with his bat for a poor show.
Three wickets down, and Sri Lanka saw Sadeera plus Charith bring up a much-needed partnership. Considering all three wickets were taken in the first powerplay, Sri Lanka needed this partnership more than ever to make sure that the tag of defending champions remains intact.
Sadeera departed as his partner remained unbeaten. Dasun Shanaka played a supportive role by bringing up 14 runs in 21 balls. The momentum was all set after Sadeera and Charith registered half-centuries to their name.
Sri Lanka is now at the top of Group B with 2 points and an NRR of +0.951. The next game will be played for Group A between India and Pakistan on September 02, 2023, at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.