Iqbal scored 59 off 57 deliveries and shared a solid 76-run stand with Shakib Al Hasan for the fourth wicket after pacers dented Bangaldesh’s run-chase with quick wickets.
Iqbal’s blistering fifty came in quick time, taking just 46 balls.
Chasing a revised target of 212, Bangladesh were reduced to 40/3 in seven overs by the Lankan pacers.
Nuwan Kulasekara removed Nizamuddin to give Bangladesh first blow before Suranga lakmal ended Jahurul Islam’s challenge.
Kulasekara bowled out Nazimuddin (6) in the second over after game resumed. Lakmal then got Islam caught by Chamara Kapugedera in the seventh over.
In the next over skipper Mushfiqur Rahim then became second victim of Kulasekara to give Sri Lanka control. Bangladesh need to chase 212 in 40 overs to set final date with Pakistan.
The target was revised as rainfall delayed hosts’ run-chase after Sri Lanka were bundled out for 232 in 49.5 overs.
For Sri Lanka Chamara Kapugedera (62), Lahiru Thirimanne (48) and Upul Tharanga (48) made significant contributions in the middle-order after a top-order collapse saw the islanders reeling at 32 for three in 10 overs.
Comeback man Nazmul Hossain was the pick of the bowlers with figures of three for 32 while left-arm spinners Shakib-al Hasan (2/56) and Abdur Razzaq (2/44) also got important breakthroughs.
Medium pacer Hossain, who was drafted into the playing XI in place of Shafiul Islam, struck triple blow to reduce Sri Lanka to 32 for three within the first 10 overs after Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim opted to field.
Nazmul, who played his last ODI back in October last year, bowled with lot of control as he rocked the Lankan top-order removing the seasoned trio of Mahela Jayawardene (5), Tillekaratne Dilshan (19) and Kumar Sangakkara (6).
Jayawardene who has played some poor shots in the two earlier matches once again tried to play across the line to a delivery that moved in a shade and breached his defence as his off-stump was dislodged.
Sangakkara played a rank bad shot as he tried to play an expansive cover drive off Nazmul only to be caught by Nazimuddin.
Dilshan hit three boundaries during his brief stay but then inside-edged one on to his stumps as there was minimal footwork from the former Sri lanka captain.
Thirimanne and Kapugedera then joined hands to stem the rot. The duo didn’t take too many risks as they went on doing their job quietly.
The 88 runs they added did not come at a great pace and there were only five boundaries during their stay of little under 23 overs. They concentrated on taking singles as the 100 came up in the 28th over.
Thirimanne missed out on a half century when he charged out to a Razzaq delivery that was going down leg-side. Thirimanne’s 48 came off 73 balls with three hits to the fence.
Kapugedera completed his eighth ODI half-century with a push towards mid-on that fetched him two runs. He found an able ally in Upul Tharanga (48, 44 balls, 5×4, 1×6) who was positive from the onset as they added 49 runs for the fifth wicket stand.
Kapugedera was finally dismissed for a well-made 62 off 93 balls (4×4) when he tried to hit a cover drive off Razzaq only to find that Shakib pouching a brilliant low catch.
Ferveez Maharoof (3) and Nuwan Kulasekara (1) soon followed and Sri Lanka were again down in the dumps with scorecard reading 183 for seven.
But Tharanga didn’t stop playing his shots as he hit Shakib for a huge six over long on and then pushed down fine leg for a boundary that brought the team’s 200. Tharanga also missed out on a half century when he edged one off Shahadat Hossain trying to steer it down to third-man.
It was Sachitra Senanayake (19 not out, 3×4) and Lasith Malinga (10) who added valuable 26 runs for the ninth wicket to give the Lankan total some respectability.
Despite the huge following that the Bangladesh cricket team has, it hasn’t been too successful in the international arena, and a berth in the Asia Cup final will really mean a lot for the country.
If Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka in this final league encounter, they will be same on the points table with India and will qualify for the final by virtue of beating MS Dhoni’s men in the league stage.
The Indian team, of course, is hoping that a demoralized Sri Lanka, after crashing out, will play one good game and help them go through.
(With inputs from PTI)
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