Sri Lanka top-order batsman Kusal Perera credited Bangladesh batsman Mahmudullah’s experience for executing a successful chase in a nail-biter, and under immense pressure. The Tigers Friday stormed into the final of the Nidahas T20I tri-nation series after winning by two wickets against the Lankans at R Premadasa Cricket Stadium in Colombo.
Bangladesh needed 12 runs off the final over chasing 160, and all depended on Mahmudullah, the only specialist batsman remaining. The first two balls were a dot and a wicket respectively, followed by chaotic scenes between players of the two sides but once it all ended, cool headed Mahmudullah took the strike and faced three more deliveries of seamer Isuru Udana.
The first one was travelling wide from the off stump but Mahmudullah reached for it sent it for a four over cover. He flicked the next ball for a double and played a similar stroke again but this time it went for a maximum over backward square-leg. Bangladesh had won the game with a ball to spare and Mahmudullah was the toast of his teammates for his incredible 18-ball 43.
“(Mahmudullah) is a very experienced batsman, he knows what the situation is. He kept rotating the strike and took some calculated risks at the right times. He used his experience, that’s the main thing,” said Kusal to the media in Colombo Friday.
The left-handed Kusal was in sizzling form throughout the series, scoring three fifties. Kusal on the day was pivotal behind Sri Lanka eventually reaching 159, thanks to his 61 off 40 deliveries, composed with seven boundaries. Bangladesh made a flying start to leave Sri Lanka reeling on 41 for five. Kusal then did the repairing job with all-rounder Thisara Perera (58).
“In the tournament I did really well, but obviously I would like to be in the winning team whether I’m performing or not,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman.
“In a particular time I had to wait a little bit and I had to rotate my strike. Then me and Thisara spoke a little bit and decided that we would wait for the pace bowlers to come on to the attack. The thing is Thisara and I can hit it very well, so he hit a few sixes and the pressure was released,” Kusal added.