Mirpur (Dhaka): Bangladesh once again proved to be India’s nemesis as they pushed the Men In Blue out of a tournament, this time the Asia Cup, when they beat Sri Lanka by five wickets to enter their maiden final of the tournament here on Tuesday.
The hosts produced another spirited performance as they restricted Sri Lanka to 232 and then the chased down the total in 37.1 overs after an initial stutter. Rain delayed the start of the Bangladesh reply, revising their target to 212 in 40 overs.
Opener Tamim Iqbal (59) and premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan (56) rose to the occasion, much to the delight of their passionate fans at the packed Shere Bangla National Stadium.
The Bangla Tigers meet Pakistan in the final Thursday. Bangladesh had overcome a 290-run target to humble India in their last match while they stretched Pakistan in the tournament opener.
Bangladesh did not panic despite being 40 for three in the eighth over. The experienced duo of Iqbal and Hasan steadied the ship by adding 76 runs off 73 balls.
And after they fell to off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake (2/38) in a space of four overs, Mahmudullah (32) and Nasir Hossain (33) guided the team home with an unbeaten 77-run stand off 83 balls.
Hossain hit the winning boundary, a straight drive off Suranga Lakmal that had the crowd including the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on its feet.
Earlier, Sri Lanka were in deep trouble at 32 for three in 10 overs before Chamara Kapugedera (62), Lahiru Thirimanne (48) and Upul Tharanga (48) took the team to a fighting total.
Medium pacer Nazmul Hossain (3/32) removed Sri Lanka's high-profile top-order while left-arm spinners Abdur Razzak (2/44) and Hasan (2/56) were effective in the middle overs.
Bangladesh, electing to field, looked a team with a purpose. Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene (5) missed a straight one off Hossain to be bowled in the fourth over while opening partner Tillakaratne Dilshan (19) played on attempting a cut shot. Kumar Sangakkara (6) also fell while trying to hit on the up, getting caught at extra cover.
Kapudgedera then forged partnerships with Thirimanne and Tharanga, sharing 88 and 49 runs for the fourth and fifth wicket.
Both Kapugedera and Thirimanne had to work hard for every run against the Bangladesh spinners. Kapudera's 92-ball innings saw only four boundaries while the Southpaw consumed 73 balls, hitting just three fours.
With Thirimanne back in the hut at 120 for four, Tharanga came out with an aggressive intent. He scored at more than a run a ball, striking five fours and a six. (IANS)