Skipper Shakib Al Hasan warned Bangladesh that they must keep their emotions in check after rivals Sri Lanka dumped them out of the Asia Cup cricket following a bitter war of words. Sri Lanka won a do-or-die match in Dubai by two wickets and with four balls to spare on Thursday to move into the Super Four stage of the tournament, a prelude to the T20 World Cup. Before the clash the two sides exchanged verbal volleys in media conferences with Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka saying Bangladesh lacked a world-class bowler other than Mustafizur Rahman and Shakib.
Bangladesh team director Khaled Mahmud hit back, saying: “I don’t see any (world-class) bowler in Sri Lanka as well… we have at least two.”
The battle of words moved to social media with former Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene tweeting: “Looks like it’s time for (our) bowlers to show the class and batters to show who they are on the field.”
Shakib denied after the defeat that ended their Asia Cup hopes that the off-field chatter had affected them, but admitted his Bangladesh team needed to play more with their heads.
“We are very emotional. That is the other area we need to improve,” Shakib said, with the World Cup in Australia on the horizon in October-November.
“Keep our emotions on the side and play the way we need to play. More looking to give our head in the game than our heart in the game.”
Sri Lanka batsman Bhanuka Rajapaksa offered an olive branch to the Bangladesh players and said Shanaka’s words were misconstrued.
“The statement that the captain made, I don’t think he meant any wrong,” Rajapaksa told reporters.
“Of course, when you compare the (dangerous) Afghanistan bowlers, what we meant was we had a slight advantage facing the Bangladeshi bowlers.”
Rajapaksa added: “Like India-Pakistan, Sri Lanka-Bangladesh is also a good rivalry, but we are friends off the field.
“Some words could hurt the players and hurt the staff. But what the captain meant was not what went through the media.”
– ‘Hook or by crook’ –
After a tempestuous build-up, Bangladesh posted 183-7, a total their bowlers failed to defend.
The Sri Lankan lower-order needed to get 25 runs from the final two overs and gained from the extra runs which came through wides and no-balls by the opposition bowlers.
Both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh lost their opening matches to Afghanistan, who sailed into the Super Four from the group.
Rajapaksa said his team went into hiding after their eight-wicket hammering to Afghanistan — the team they face once more in the next round on Saturday.
“It was quite shameful for us, the 11 who played this game, and we were not expecting to be bowled out for 105,” said Rajapaksa.
“Of course Afghanistan is a pretty decent side when it comes to T20s but after the loss we went into a small shell for a couple of days, but we knew how to overcome that situation.”
The hard-hitting left-hander said Sri Lanka are relishing having another crack at Afghanistan, who have emerged as genuine title-contenders.
“What we planned was to beat Bangladesh by hook or by crook,” he said.
“We managed to win and the motivation that the players have is immense, so going forward into Super Fours it will be quite interesting.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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