Bangladesh vs. Sri Lanka: Stars Who Impressed Most Ahead of Asia Cup Final

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Bangladesh vs. Sri Lanka: Stars Who Impressed Most Ahead of Asia Cup Final
A.M. Ahad/Associated Press

Sri Lanka are looking forward to Saturday's Asia Cup final after a tightly drawn victory over Bangladesh on Thursday in which the tournament's hosts failed to come back from a mid-innings onslaught that hurt their chances beyond recovery.

Bangladesh mounted a total of 204-9, but Sri Lanka were successful in hounding down the home team, rounding off a score of 208-7 with just an over left to play.

Paul Farbrace's side will now face defending champions Pakistan in their search of 2014 glory with a number of key players currently enjoying good form ahead of the competition's climax.

Though it was a cohesive effort from Sri Lanka, we've taken a look at some of those stars who were most essential in the outfit's most recent triumph, all of whom will be of vital significance this weekend.

 

Angelo Matthews, Sri Lanka

Nominated as Man of the Match for his performance in tired conditions, Angelo Matthews rose to the occasion in a big way on Thursday, giving a captain's innings to be proud of.

Theo Karanikos/Associated Press

Batting sixth in the Sri Lankan order, no player scored more boundaries than the 26-year-old who managed seven on his way to recording a run total of 74, unsurprisingly the highest score of any one player.

The Sri Lanka captain kept a calm head as leader, thrusting his side forward as they looked to chase down Bangladesh's tally, not only through his own individual impact, but also by guiding his team with aplomb through less direct means.

 

Chaturanga de Silva, Sri Lanka

Restrained until seventh in the batting order, Chatarunga de Silva gave his team a finishing boost to be admired, and it didn't go unnoticed by captain Matthews who, in his post-match comments, per ESPNcricinfo, picked the batsman out, saying: "Chaturanga batted beautifully."

A.M. Ahad/Associated Press

The 24-year-old notched a run total of 44 before being caught out by Mahmudullah.

However, those runs were enough to ensure that Sri Lanka's hopes of clawing back the 204-run lead amassed by Bangladesh earlier in the day were successful.

Just behind Matthews, De Silva's five boundaries were the next-highest tally of their kind during the encounter.

 

Anamul Haque, Bangladesh

A.M. Ahad/Associated Press

If there is a bright light to be picked out from under Bangladesh's fourth consecutive loss, it was the display from Anamul Haque, who led in both the batting and bowling aspects for his team.

As OptaJim shows, Haque is one of those attempting to get Bangladesh out of a rough patch of form:

First in the Bangladeshi batting order, Haque did give his side a positive note to start on, lasting a little more than 18 overs and registering 49 runs, good enough for a runner-up place behind Matthews.

That total included one of the day's two sixes, not to mention the wicket keeper's contribution of catching out three opposition players.

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