Bangladesh282 for 7 (Shanto 90, Shakib 82, Madushanka 3-69, Mathews 2-35, Theekshana 2-44) beat Sri Lanka 279 (Asalanka 108, Nissanka 41, Tanzim 3-80, Shoriful 2-51, Shakib 2-57) by three wickets
Yet another chapter was written into the story of subcontinental cricket’s most engrossing rivalry, in which Bangladesh came away deserved winners against Sri Lanka, winning by three wickets and, crucially, 53 deliveries in Delhi. The margin of victory means Bangladesh have leapfrogged Sri Lanka on the points table on net run-rate, while Bangladesh, Netherlands and Sri Lanka are all on four points and all three – and England – are still vying for the two remaining spots at the 2025 Champions Trophy.
According to the tournament playing conditions: “After the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batter, the incoming batter must, unless Time has been called, be ready to receive the ball, or for the other batter to be ready to receive the next ball within 2 minutes of the dismissal or retirement. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batter will be out, Timed out.”
An incensed Mathews was sent back, and Sri Lanka played the rest of the game with a chip on their shoulder. But to focus solely on that would take away from a solid all-round effort from Bangladesh, and from Shakib.
The rest of the bowlers, though, ensured Sri Lanka were not allowed to cut loose, and aided by some loose batting, they kept their opponents well in check.
When the partnership was eventually broken, the requirement was just 70, but Sri Lanka kept picking up wickets to make for a nervy finish. Bangladesh, however, bat deep and they kept their cool to secure a hard-fought win.
On a surface well suited to batting, Sri Lanka were largely architects of their own downfall.
After yet another early exit for Kusal Perera – caught acrobatically behind the stumps by Mushfiqur Rahim – a 61-run stand between Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis settled the Sri Lanka innings. An aggressive Nissanka accounted for 40 runs in that stand, frequently finding boundaries to relieve the pressure being built at the other end, while an out-of-sorts Mendis searched for form.
It took 14 balls for Mendis to get off the mark, and despite finding two boundaries – a four and a six – in his 30-ball stay, he looked a pale shadow of the man that had taken the early part of the tournament by storm. A loft down the ground lacking in power brought about his eventual demise.
Nissanka followed soon, chopping Tanzim on, before another solid stand threatened to pull Sri Lanka clear. It was here that Asalanka entered the fray alongside Sadeera Samarawickrama, himself new at the crease. Their left-right pairing served to make life particularly difficult for the Bangladesh bowlers, while their run-scoring was largely risk-free.
This is what made Samarawickrama’s dismissal all the more jarring, as he found deep square-leg with an aerial flick, having been unflustered up until then. It was this wicket that preceded the flashpoint in the innings – and the game – as Mathews strode out, not knowing the fate that was to befall him.
Up until that point, Sri Lanka’s batters could perhaps even have been accused of complacency in terms of the way they had lost wickets. But, just like that, the perceived injustice of Mathews’ dismissal instilled resolve that might have served them a lot better earlier in the tournament.
Having barely strung together any partnerships of significance lower down the order all tournament, Sri Lanka suddenly found two of genuine quality. The first between Asalanka and Dhananjaya de Silva brought 78 – Sri Lanka’s best stand for the sixth wicket since their opening fixture against South Africa. After Dhananjaya fell, stumped off Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Asalanka stitched another stand of 45 with Maheesh Theekshana – this one easily Sri Lanka’s best seventh-wicket stand of the tournament.
Asalanka scrounged together another 20 with Dushmantha Chameera, before himself holing out at deep point. It brought an end to a marvellous innings that was replete with smart strike rotation and calculated risks. However, it would be a bittersweet day for him as he was the one to drop a sharp chance off Shakib when he was on seven. Mathews was the bowler.
That wicket might have been karmic retribution for Sri Lanka, but Shakib would have the last laugh. While Mathews eventually got his man – giving Shakib a send-off as well, tapping his wrist, signalling that it was “time” to go – it was not before Shakib had scored 75 more runs.
Mathews wasn’t done yet, though, removing Shanto shortly after as Sri Lanka were offered a whiff of an unlikely chance. Theekshana then picked up a couple and Dilshan Madushanka added another, to go with his two scalps at the start of the chase, to take his World Cup tally to 21. But, in the end, it was a case of too little, too late as some lusty blows brought the game to a swift close.