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Always believed we could win: Mahmudullah

Mushfiqur Rahim hit a crucial half-century to help Bangladesh chase down a record 215 to beat Sri Lanka by five wickets in a thrilling contest of the Twenty20 tri-series in Colombo on Saturday (March 10).

Rahim smashed an unbeaten 72 off 35 balls to take Bangladesh to their target with two balls to spare at the R Premadasa Stadium. He hit five fours and four sixes during his knock, before breaking into wild celebrations after helping Bangladesh to their highest-ever run chase in the shortest format, and the fourth biggest overall in international T20s. He kept building partnerships for Bangladesh after openers Tamim Iqbal, who hit 47, and Liton Das (43 off 19 balls) set up the chase with a brisk start.

“To be honest, from the beginning we thought we could win,” Mahmudullah, Bangladesh’s captain, said after the match. “Tamim and Liton gave us a good start. Then Mushy was outstanding. It was amazing to see and good inspiration for us.”

“I dedicate this knock to my son; he’s just 35 days old,” said Mushfiqur. “We needed that win badly. Credit goes to the batsmen for holding their nerve. The way Liton and Tamim set it up for us was outstanding. It was a nice track to bat on. At the end of the day, winning is the most important. I was just having cramps and hopefully will recover for the next match.”

Nuwan Pradeep bagged two important wickets, including that of Liton, but Sri Lankan bowlers failed to stop the flow of runs from Mushfiqur, who was named man of the match.

Earlier, Kusal Mendis scored 57, and Kusal Perera top-scored with 74 to put together 85 runs for the second wicket and guide the hosts to 214 for 6.

Mahmudullah got Mendis out with his off-spin as he struck twice in his very first over to put a break on Sri Lanka’s scoring rate.

But Kusal continued to smash the Bangladesh bowlers, getting to his second successive fifty in the process. He hit eight fours and two sixes during his 48-ball blitz.

“It was a really good game of cricket and credit to the batsmen,” Dinesh Chandimal, the Sri Lanka skipper, said after the match. “It was a really good wicket but as a bowling unit, we did not execute well. I am sure they will come back in the next game.”

The tournament, arranged to commemorate Sri Lanka’s 70 years of independence, remained alive with all three teams having won a game each. India take on Sri Lanka next on Monday.

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