The virtual semi-final between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh had everything that a cricket fan could ask for. It had a gripping contest between bat and ball. It had sumptuous boundaries and towering sixes. And then, just like the cherry on the cake, it had a dramatic final over finish.
Bangladesh, chasing a target of 160 needed 12 off the last 6 balls to seal a berth in the final against India. Mind you, the runs required were 12, neither 7 or 8 which seem quite achievable, nor 20 or 25 that seem a little too much. These 12 runs kept everyone on the edge of their seats as the pendulum kept swinging from one side to the other. Here is the riveting final over brought to you ball by ball.
#1 First ball
With Bangladesh 7 down for 148, Mustafizur Rahman comes out to help Mahmudullah Riyad propel the Tigers over the line. The Fizz takes the strike. All he has on his mind is to give the strike to his vice-captain at the other end.
Isuru Udana who has been bowling well under pressure, is all set to bowl the first ball of the final over. Short pitched delivery on middle and leg. Mustafizur tries to pull but the bounce of the ball takes it over his bat. Udana hears a snick. Sri Lanka go for a review. Replays show a flat line on the snickometer.
Result- Dot ball
#2 Second ball
Udana is ready with his second delivery. 12 needed off 5 balls. Mustafizur Rahman still on strike. It is a replica of the first ball. Short on the middle stump. Mustafizur misses but Mahmudullah wants to run a bye before it’s too late. The Fizz is running towards the bowler’s end. Udana hits the wickets. The bails are dislodged. Mustafizur falls well short.
Hold on! What’s up with skipper Shakib Al Hasan and his Boys? The word that is going around is that the square-leg umpire first signaled a no-ball, which was later repealed. Meanwhile, Bangladesh sub fielders have an argument with the Sri Lankan fielders. Appalling scenes at Colombo. Shakib contending with the fourth umpire on the boundary line for a no-ball. Now, he is calling his guys back. Thankfully some good sense prevails and the batsmen do not leave the field.
#3 Third ball
Still 12 required. Back to back dot balls. Is pressure getting the better of Bangladesh? The good thing for them though, is that Mahmudullah is on strike. Udana runs in with his third ball. Full length delivery well outside the off stump. A one-handed swing over covers by Mahmudullah. One bounce over the ropes.
It is one heck of a shot! If Mahmudullah had left it, if would have been a wide by a fair margin. But he is in no mood to let anything go. The boundary has brought Bangladesh back in the game.
Result- 4 runs
#4 Fourth ball
The equation changes drastically. 8 required off 3 now. The Tigers have their nose in front. Fourth delivery is a low full toss. Mahmudullah hoicks it with full force. It’s a mishit and the ball makes its way to deep mid-wicket.
Mahmudullah wants two. He is running towards the danger end. Could be tight. Bangladesh vice-captain puts in the dive. A wide throw from the deep. Keeper Kusal Perera fails to dislodge the bails. Close save for Mahmudullah!
Result- 2 runs
#5 Fifth ball
6 required of the last two balls. It’s anybody’s game now. All about nerves. Mahmudullah on strike to face Udana’s fifth delivery. An intended yorker on middle and leg. Just misses his mark. Bang! flicked away over backward square leg, six runs.
It’s all over for Sri Lanka. The entire Bangladesh team is out on the field and so are the cobra moves. Shakib takes off his jersey. Bangladesh to face India in the final on Sunday.
Result- 6 runs, Bangladesh win the match by 2 wickets
The tension carries on from the field to the dressing room. Later Shakib Al Hasan and Nurul Hasan are fined 25 per cent of their match fees and given one demerit point each by the match referee Chris Broad for their unruly behavior.