Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal credited hard work and dedication for their tri-nation ODI series title win as they defeated host Bangladesh by 79 runs at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Saturday.
The island nation bounced back strongly in the series after losing the first two games, to Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. They then scripted a comeback by first defeating Zimbabwe by five wickets before humiliating Bangladesh by 10 wickets in a must-win game to qualify for the grand finale.
"We are over the moon. This is all about hard work, especially after losing the first two games, it is difficult to get back in this kind of tournament. The guys put their heart and soul in practice. And then when they went to the middle they put their heart and soul. They had the plans and executed well, and credit goes to everyone who played in the series," said Chandimal, who took charge in the absence of the injured Angelo Mathews, in the post-match press conference.
The competition in the final against the home side was never easy for Sri Lanka. They struggled with the bat after Chandimal opted to take first strike. The Mirpur wicket was not its usual self so credit should be given to their batsmen in the shape of Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella and Chandimal, who quickly adapted to the situation to aid Sri Lanka to a defendable 221. Later, it was the bowlers who put up a joint effort to trouble Bangladesh’s chase.
Right-arm pacer Dushmantha Chameera removed the Bangladesh top-order while spinner Akila Dananjaya squeezed through the middle overs. Debutant Shehan Madushanka put the final nail in the coffin with a hat-trick to propel Sri Lanka to their third victory on the trot.
"It was tough. I prayed before the toss, I need to win the toss. It was a dry wicket. Credit goes to Upul and Dickwella, they put on a 70-run (71) 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. Credit goes to Upul and Dickwella, they played some outstanding cricket," Chandimal informed.
The occasion was the second where Sri Lanka faced Bangladesh in a tri-series final. Earlier, the Lankans had registered a two-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the 2009 tri-series final in Dhaka also involving Zimbabwe.
Chandimal informed that his side had no concern with the result or what had happened in the past. Chandimal said they only concentrated on the process and team plan.
"Actually before we came to the game we did not think about the result. Actually we just need to play competitive cricket with the Bangladesh team. We all know they are very good especially on their own soil and last couple of years they played some outstanding cricket. We just wanted to play competitive cricket and we knew a good result could come after that. That was our thinking as a team," said Chandimal.