Mission accomplished for cricketers

Bangladesh Under-23 cricket team players celebrate after defeating Sri Lanka in the gold medal deciding match of the men’s cricket event of the 13th SA Games at the Tribhuvan University International Cricket Ground in Kirtipur, Nepal on Monday. — BOA photo

Bangladesh Emerging Cricket team outplayed Sri Lanka by seven wickets to clinch the gold medal in the 13th South Asian Games, joining with their female counterparts in gold rush in Kathmandu on Monday.

It was an anti-climax, unlike the previous day, when the Bangladeshi girls had to wait until the last ball for the win, as the men’s team easily reached the winning shores after bowling out Sri Lanka for just 122 runs in 20 overs.

Saif Hasan (33) and Soumya Sarkar (27) set up the foundation with a 44-run opening stand before skipper Nazmul Hossain played an unbeaten knock of 35 runs to guide Bangladesh to 125-3 in 18.1 overs.

Sri Lanka thrashed Bangladesh by nine wickets in their corresponding league match on Sunday to start the game as favourites but few tactical moves helped Bangladesh bounced back strongly.

Medium pacer Hasan Mahmud returned to the team after sitting out on the previous day and led Bangladesh’s bowling charge, picking up 3-20 while left-arm spinner Tanvir Islam (2-28) and other bowlers also complimented him.

It left Sri Lanka reduced to 87-7 In 14 overs and they could not recover from the damage as Mahmud dismissed their top-scorer Shammu Ashan (25) in the 17th over to deny them late momentum.

Bangladesh dropped Mohammad Naim from the starting line-up and promoted Saif in the opening slot alongside Soumya to get the kind of start they were looking for in the gold-deciding match.

‘Naim was dropped purely from a tactical point of view because we wanted a left-right combination at the top,’ said manager Habibul Bashar. ‘We could not drop Soumya because we needed his bowling. Naim was also struggling with his form here. So we thought it would be better if send Saif for opening.’

It took Sri Lanka a spectacular catch at cover to dismiss Soumya and break the opening stand but Saif, who hit three fours and two sixes, and Nazmul kept their calm to put Bangladesh on course.

Saif was run out with a direct hit after Nazmul failed to respond to his call for a single and sent him back from the middle of the pitch, giving Sri Lanka a glimmer of hope.

Nazmul stood firm and struck Ashan a four to finish the job, which ensured Bangladesh defending the gold they won in 2010 with the event missing in 2016.

Source: New Age.

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