Rain knocks Bangladesh out; Thailand to face India and Sri Lanka play Pakistan in semis
Pakistan celebrate a wicket © Asian Cricket Council
Thailand made it to the knock out stages of the Asia Cup after rain knocked defending champions Bangladesh out of the tournament on Tuesday (October 11). In the second match of the day at the Sylhet International Stadium, Omaima Sohail's five-wicket haul helped Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by five wickets. Table toppers India will face Thailand, while Pakistan and Sri Lanka will once again clash in the other semi-final.
Earlier in the day, the first match of the day between Bangladesh and UAE was washed out without a ball being bowled due to the persistent rain. That meant Bangladesh were eliminated from the tournament as Thailand finished the group stages ahead of the hosts with six points from as many matches. Bangladesh had only five points with two wins and the one point from the wash out.
In the second match, opting to bat first, Chamari Athapaththu looked to hit out of the slump she found herself in the tournament. After missing and prodding against the left-arm spin of Sadia Iqbal, Athapaththu hit Aiman Anwar for two boundaries in the second over before repeating the feat against Iqbal.
After Nida Dar removed Harshitha Madavi early, Athapaththu shifted gears to smash Tuba Hassan for three consecutive fours and Hasini Perera followed it up with a couple of her own in the next over to end the power play on a high with 47 runs on the board – the highest power play score in the tournament so far.
With the skipper hitting Hassan for two more boundaries in seventh over, it looked like Sri Lanka will finish the power play on a high. But Athapaththu went for one hit too many and was caught at long-on off a full toss.
Once their talismanic batter left, Sri Lanka collapsed with wickets falling in regular wickets. Sohail came into the attack in the eighth over and removed Nilakshi de Silva for a duck. She then sent Hasini Perera and Anushka Sanjeewani with consecutive deliveries in her second over.
Her third over saw Sohail take out Malsha Shehani with a tossed up ball. When she trapped Kaveesha Dilhari in front of the wicket, the off-spinner registered her maiden five-wicket haul and eventually finished with the best figures by Pakistan bowler in the T20I format.
A couple of run outs followed and Sri Lanka were looking like they wouldn’t even reach the 100-run mark. Oshadi Ranasinghe played a few shots on her way to a 29-ball 26 and Sri Lanka ended their innings on 112 in the 19th over with Hassan picking up the final wicket.
For Pakistan, Sohail finished with figures of 5 for 13 from her four overs, while Hassan ended her spell on 2 for 26.
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Chasing 113 to win, Pakistan started well with 28 runs coming from the first four overs with Sidra Amin hitting a couple of boundaries. However, Sri Lanka had the breakthrough when Amin hit one straight to Athapaththu at mid-off in the next over.
Muneeba Ali also departed soon with Achini Kulasuriya picking up her in the last over the power play. Pakistan ended this phase on 36 for two and they needed their experienced skipper to stick around to resurrect the innings.
However, Sri Lanka bowlers struck to their line and Dilhari trapped Sohali in front of the wicket and Bismah Maroof holed out to Madavi at deep mid-wicket off Inoka Ranaweera to slip to 51 for 4 at the end of the tenth over.
Once again it was down to the duo of Dar and Aliya Riaz to take Pakistan home. The pair started bided their time and hit occasional boundaries. Riaz peppered the off-side with her cut shots, while Dar employed sweeps to good effect.
With 35 needed off last five overs, Riaz cut Athapaththu for a couple of boundaries and they were also helped by Sri Lanka’s fielding with Ranaweera dropping an easy return catch. But with Dilhari dismissing Riaz with the same mode of dismissal, it came down to 16 off 12.
However, Ayesha Naseem finished off the match in grand style with two big hits over cow corner in the penultimate over to take Pakistan over by five wickets.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 112/10 in 18.5 overs (Chamari Athapaththu 41, Oshadi Ranasinghe 26; Omaima Sohail 5/13) lost to Pakistan 113/5 in 18.5 overs (Nida Dar 26, Aliya Riaz 20; Kaveesha Dilhari 2/16) by five wickets