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Tigers suffer heartbroken defeat

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DE Online Desk
Sri Lanka beat Bangladesh by 3 runs in the opening game of the three-match T20 series at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Monday.
Jaker Ali’s fighting fifty went in vain as Bangladesh fell short Sri Lanka in the opening Twenty20 international against Bangladesh in Sylhet.
Sadeera Samarawickrama and Kusal Mendis showcased their batting prowess, propelling Sri Lanka to a formidable total of 206-3.
Samarawickrama exhibited resilience with an unbeaten 61 off 48 deliveries, while Mendis crafted a fluent 59 off just 36 balls, steering Sri Lanka past a sluggish start after being put in to bat by Bangladesh.
In a display of effective partnership building, Mendis and Samarawickrama constructed a crucial 96-run stand for the third wicket, rescuing Sri Lanka from a precarious position of 37 runs for the loss of two wickets.
Avishka Fernando fell early, managing only four runs off Shoriful Islam’s second delivery, while Kamindu Mendis departed for 19, caught by Soumya Sarkar at midwicket off Taskin Ahmed’s bowling.
Mendis demonstrated his attacking intent by dispatching leg-spinner Rishad Hossain for a boundary and two towering sixes in consecutive deliveries, reaching his fifty in just 27 balls. However, Rishad exacted revenge in his subsequent spell, inducing a well-judged catch by Mahmudullah Riyad at the long-off boundary to halt Mendis’ innings.
Undeterred by Mendis’ departure, stand-in skipper Charith Asalanka joined forces with Samarawickrama to sustain the onslaught, forging an unbeaten 73-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Asalanka’s blistering 44 off 21 balls, complemented by Samarawickrama’s steady innings, ensured Sri Lanka ended strongly, adding 24 runs from the final over bowled by Mustafizur Rahman.
Bangladesh found themselves in dire straits at 68 for four after just nine overs, desperately needing a spark to ignite to chase 207 posted by the Lankans. Enter Jaker Ali, who teamed up with the seasoned Mahmudullah to steer their side towards hope.
While Mahmudullah’s gritty 31-ball 54 seemed to be the lone beacon of resistance, Jaker’s explosive batting turned the tide. With six sixes and four boundaries, he propelled Bangladesh’s chase, nearly carrying them over the finish line.
However, fate intervened cruelly as Jaker’s blistering innings was cut short, caught at long-off midway through the 20th over, leaving Bangladesh still requiring 10 runs for victory.
In a tense finale, Shoriful managed a crucial boundary and a swift single, but Taskin Ahmed faltered in the final delivery, denying the hosts a thrilling win by a mere three runs.
After the struggles of Bangladesh’s top order, Mahmudullah’s rapid-fire fifty, crafted from just 27 deliveries, briefly steadied the ship, particularly with his 47-run partnership alongside Jaker.
However, his departure in pursuit of acceleration left the responsibility squarely on Jaker’s shoulders, who valiantly carried the Tigers’ hopes on his own, nearly scripting a miraculous turnaround.

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