Upul Tharanga starred in Sri Lanka Legends’ win over over Bangladesh Legends in the Unacademy Road Safety World Series T20 at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium on Wednesday. Stylish left-hander Tharanga hammered an unbeaten 99 as Sri Lanka got the better of Bangladesh by 42 runs to take the top spot in the points table with 16 points followed by India Legends at 12.
Chasing a target of 181 set by Sri Lanka, it was always difficult for Bangladesh to overcome it and they ended up being restricted to 138/6 in 20 overs.
However, the Tigers put up an improved performance with the bat, all thanks to in-form opener Nazimuddin, who cracked a 41-ball half century.
Bangladesh were given a super start by openers Nazimuddin and Mehrab Hossain. However, the partnership soon ended when Sri Lanka captain and off-spinner Dilshan got Hossain when the scorecard read 57.
Nazimuddin continued his fine form and went on to crack his first half century of the tournament. His previous best was 49 against India only recently.
However, the target was always difficult for Bangladesh, but it was no less than an entertaining tie.
For Sri Lanka, Dilshan was the most successful wicket-taker with 3/21.
Earlier, Tharanga missed out on a well-deserved century by one run as Sri Lanka posted a challenging total of 180 for six in 20 overs for Bangladesh.
The 36-year-old south-paw hammered an entertaining 99 not out in 47 balls which was laced with 11 boundaries and five hits over the ropes.
Needing 20 runs in the last over to reach the three figure mark, Tharanga hit 18 runs that included two sixes and a four off Bangladesh seamer Mushfiqur Rahman in four balls. However, he could manage just one run in the last over as partner Nuwan Kulasekara ran himself out, which resulted in Tharanga stranded at 99 not out.
Before Tharanga’s attacking knock, Sri Lanka captain Tillakratne Dilshan won the toss and elected to bat first.
And this time, Tharanga once again prove his worth, scoring his second half century of the tournament after Dilshan got out following a decent start to the innings.
Dilshan, who opened with Sanath Jayasuriya, scored a 23-ball 33 with six boundaries before he was out leg before wicket Rajin Saleh.
Sri Lanka’s batting hero of yesteryears Jayasuriya returned home early retired hurt after a groin injury.
It was up to Tharanga to take the team to a winning total.
He was also involved in a 59-run partnership for the second wicket with Chamara Silva (24).
Even as the wicket fell at the other end, Tharanga kept on playing his game with wonderful stroke-play all around the park.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka legends 180 for 6 in 20 overs (Upul Tharanga 99*, Tillakratne Dilshan 33, Chamara Silva) beat Bangaldesh Legends 138/6 in 20 overs (Nazimuddin 54, Mehrab Hossain 27, Khaled Mashud 28*; Tillakratne Dilshan 3/21, Dhammika Prasad 2/22) by 42 runs