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Mar 21, 2012 at 12:44am IST

Ban beat SL, storm into Asia Cup final

Mirpur: In a historic achievement, Bangladesh entered their maiden Asia Cup final by beating Sri Lanka by five wickets at the Shere Bangla stadium on Tuesday.

The result knocks India out of the tournament, who finished level on points with the host nation, but lost out because of their defeat against Bangladesh earlier in the competition.

Chasing a target of 212 for victory in 40 overs in a rain-affected game, Bangladesh won in the 38th over, thanks to half-centuries by Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan.

Bangladesh in Asia Cup final, India out

Bangladesh's Tamim Iqbal, left, raises his bat to celebrate his half century against Sri Lanka. (AP Photo)

The home team did not get off to the best of starts, losing opener Nazimuddin who chopped a Nuwan Kulasekara delivery one on to his stumps, in the second over of the innings.

After a brief partnership between Tamim and Jahurul Islam, Bangladesh were dealt another blow when the latter mistimed a pull shot off Suranga Lakmal to find Chamara Kapugedera at mid-on, who completed the easiest of catches.

Bangladesh soon lost their third wicket when skipper Mushfiqur Rahim played all over a swinging delivery from Kulasekara to be comprehensively bowled, to leave Bangladesh stuttering at 40 for 3.

Tamim was now joined by Shakib and the two went about their business in imperious fashion as the Sri Lankan bowlers failed to come up with the answers.

Tamim who was magnificent, striking boundaries on either side of the wicket, put on 76 runs for the fourth wicket with Shakib.

He brought up his 23rd fifty in one-dayers and just when it seemed like the hosts were in control of proceedings, the Bangladeshi opener fell to offspinner Sachithra Senanayake, as he failed to keep an attempted cut shot on the ground, and Lahiru Thirimanne at backward point took a fine diving catch.

Tamim faced 57 balls for his 59 and struck nine glorious boundaries on the way.

Meanwhile Shakib brought up his half-century by stepping out to Senanayake and hitting the bowler for a couple of delightful fours.

However, it was Senanayake who had the last laugh when by trapping the former Bangladesh captain lbw for 56.

It was then left to middle-order batsman Nasir Hossain, who has been a revelation for the Tigers in the tournament, and allrounder Mahmudullah to guide the team home rather comfortably in the end, as the Lankan bowlers lost their line and length.

Nasir finished unbeaten on 36 while Mahmudullah remained not out on 32 and put on 77 runs for the sixth wicket, to take Bangladesh to one of their most significant wins.

Earlier, three quick wickets from Nazmul Hossain, who came in the team for the injured Shafiul Islam helped Bangladesh to restrict Sri Lanka to 231 in their 50 overs, before rain turned the home side's chase into a 40-over affair.

Nazmul, who played his last ODI back in October last year, rocked the Lankan top-order by removing Mahela Jayawardene (5), Tillakaratne Dilshan (19) and Kumar Sangakkara (6) early on.

Thirimanne and Kapugedera then held fort for Sri Lanka and without taking too much risk rotated the strike well in the middle overs. The pair added 88 for the fourth wicket, after which Kapugedera, along with Upul Tharanga (48), orchestrated a further 49 for the fifth wicket.

Thirimanne missed out on a half century by two runs when Abdur Razzaq picked up the in-form batsman who tried to charge out to a delivery that was going down the legside. The ball richocheted off Rahim's pads and hit the stumps with the batsman out of his crease.

Meanwhile, Kapugedera completed his half-century but soon he fell to Razzaq as well. Trying to hit a cover drive, Kapugedera could only mange to find Shakib Al Hasan who held onto a low catch. Kapugedera made 62 that included four boundaries.

Allrounders Farveez Maharoof and Nuwan Kulasekara failed to make a positive impact with the bat as Shakib struck at regular intervals during the batting Powerplay. Sri Lanka were again in dire straits with scorecard reading 183 for 7.

But Tharanga carried on with his usual business of hitting the ball all over the park and in the process brought up Sri Lanka's 200. Tharanga also missed out on a half century by two runs when he edged one off Shahadat Hossain, trying to steer it down to third-man, to wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim.

The tail-end duo Sachithra Senanayake and Lasith Malinga scored handy 19 and 10 respectively, but Sri Lanka only managed 232 in 49.5 overs.

(Full Scorecard)

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