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Tigers roar into final

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Bangladesh defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets in Dhaka to secure a place in the Asia Cup final at India’s expense.

Half-centuries from star names Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan helped the hosts recover from a shaky start in pursuit of a rain-reduced target of 212 in 40 overs, before Nasir Hossain and Mahmadullah combined in a matchwinning unbroken partnership of 77.

Sri Lanka, whose hopes of qualifying had already disappeared following defeats in each of their opening two matches, had earlier been restricted to 232 all out before a shower delayed Bangladesh’s reply.

Chamara Kapugedera top-scored with a patient 62, while Lahiru Thirimanne and Upul Tharanga contributed 48 apiece after Nazmul Hossain had ripped through the top order.

Bangladesh will now meet Pakistan on Thursday, in only their second final appearance in a multi-nation one-day international tournament.

Looking to restrict Sri Lanka to a manageable total after winning the toss, the Tigers made the perfect start through right-arm seamer Nazmul, who accounted for Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan in his opening spell.

Jayawardene and Dilshan were both bowled, while Sangakkara thumped an innocuous delivery straight to Nazimuddin at extra cover.

A stand of 88 between Kapugedera and Thirimanne steadied Sri Lanka, but their run-rate remained somewhat pedestrian until the latter was stumped off Abdur Razzak in the 32nd over.

New batsman Tharanga raised the tempo, striking five fours and a six in his 44-ball knock. However, wickets fell in quick succession around him, Shakib taking a catch off Razzak to dismiss Kapugedera before removing Farveez Maharoof and Nuwan Kulasekara in consecutive overs.

When Tharanga also fell, to Shahadat Hossain, Sri Lanka were facing a struggle to bat 50 overs and they were subsequently dismissed with one ball unused.

Rain shaved 10 overs off the Bangladesh chase and Kulasekara then bowled Nazimuddin and Mushfiqur Rahim for single-figure scores either side of Jahurul Islam being caught at midwicket off Suranga Lakmal.

Tamim Iqbal & Kumar Sangakkara

Tamim Iqbal exhibits typical flamboyance en route to a valuable 59, which helped Bangladesh secure a place in the final of the Asia Cup

That left the hosts reeling on 40 for three, but Tamim and Shakib responded to a position of peril with a fine counter-attacking partnership of 76 in 12.1 overs.

The seemingly rejuvenated Tamim showed his class with a series of delightful strokes on either side of the wicket, while Shakib collected three straight fours off Lakmal en route to 56 from just 46 balls.

After receiving a life off Senanayake, Tamim fell to the same bowler for 59 when he cut a short ball to point.

Shakib was then trapped leg before by the off-spinner, prompting fears of a Bangladesh collapse.

Yet Nasir and Mahmudullah refused to panic and calmly guided their side to a famous victory, the duo finishing unbeaten on 36 and 32 respectively.