Twenty three-year old Kusal Mendis, earmarked as Sri Lanka’s little prince of batting on the blocks, bludgeoned 70 off 42 balls to steer his side to a-75 run triumph over Bangladesh in the final T 20 at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.
It was the perfect Sunday best scripting the Lankans yearned for as Mendis set the tone reeling 6 boundaries and 3 sixes in a total of 210 for 4 wickets after being put into bat. Sri Lanka maintained a run rate of 10.5 an over. Mendis put on 98 for the first wicket in 11 overs with Dhanushka Gunathilaka who clobbered 42 off 37 inclusive of 3 boundaries and 2 six. Mendis, who progressively reached his element from a bad patch opening the batting throughout the tour, capped his performance with his second Man of the Match award. He was third out with the total on 160 in the third ball of the 17th over having shared in a 51-run alliance for the second wicket with Thisara Perera. Perera, promoted to the pivotal No.3 slot, tore into the Bangladesh bowling attack mauling 31 off 17 containing 3 boundaries and a six. Next man in Upul Tharanga struck 25 off 13 filled with 4 boundaries and a six while Dasun Shanaka remained unbeaten on 30 off 11 packed with 5 boundaries and a six. Skipper Dinesh Chandimal was on 2.
Bangladesh caved in for 135 in 18.4 overs. That only four batsmen reached double figures with Mohammad Mahamudullah top scoring with 41 reflected the all-round depth the Sri Lankans unleashed in wrapping up the series 2-nil. Next best scorers for the hosts were Tamim Iqbal 29 and Mohammad Saifuddin 20. New boy Shehan Madushanka claimed 2 for 23 opening the bowling while Gunathilaka turned his arm for fine figures of 2 for 3 off just 4 balls.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-