Sri Lanka knew Bangladesh would find it hard to chase down 222 runs on the Mirpur pitch, according to their captain Dinesh Chandimal. He described the pitch as a “tough” one, saying his batsmen understood the importance of sticking around till the 50th over quite early and batted accordingly. That confidence helped them blow Bangladesh away in a 79-run win in the tri-series final, a superb comeback after losing so poorly in the first two matches of the tournament.
Chandimal said the competitive total went hand-in-hand with Sri Lanka’s growing confidence. “It was a tough wicket,” Chandimal said. “I prayed before the toss, I need to win the toss. It was a dry wicket. Credit goes to Upul [Tharanga] and [Niroshan] Dickwella, they put on a 70-run  partnership. That was a turning point. We knew after 20 overs that if we can get 220-230, that’s a winning total for us.
“We all knew, as I said, they are really good, especially playing here. But we had a feeling that we have a good total, and that’s a winning total. As I said we have game plans and we always try to play competitive cricket. And the guys played some outstanding cricket all around – with bat, ball and in the fielding also.”
It was a sweet turnaround in Mirpur for Chandimal too, who was standing in in place of the injured Angelo Mathews. Around four years ago, he sat out the World T20 final despite being the captain, eventually seeing Lasith Malinga lift the trophy.
It was a happy occasion certainly, and walking around the Shere Bangla National Stadium, trophy in hand, must have pleased Chandimal. He however took little credit.
“We are over the moon,” he said. “This is all about working hard, especially after you lose the first two games. It is difficult to get back in this kind of tournament. The guys put their heart and soul in the practices and then when they go to the middle they put their heart and soul. They had the plans and they executed well, and credit goes to everyone who played the series.”
Sri Lanka’s tactics to bowl short to the Bangladesh batsmen paid dividends as Tamim Iqbal and Sabbir Rahman fell prey to that length once again. Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza said his team knew their opposition would use this length but couldn’t quite stave it off.
“We have known in the last 8-10 days that they were bowling short,” Mashrafe said. “We have also spoken about it. But we cannot develop skills over seven days. One has to be mentally prepared. We talked about handling that length. We had the homework but we couldn’t deliver it.”
Mashrafe also lamented the lack of support for Mahmudullah, whose 76 took Bangladesh to 142. “He needed support at the other end,” Mashrafe said. “He was the last man out. He had to play shots. If he got support from the middle order, he could have taken the chase deeper. In the Champions Trophy [win against New Zealand from a similar situation], he rotated the strike with Shakib [Al Hasan]. But playing shots and picking singles, all of it can’t be one batsman’s work.”