Mahmudullah hit a match winning six off the penultimate ball of the match to clinch a stunning two–wicket win for Bangladesh that knocked out hosts Sri Lanka and took them to the final of the Nidahas Trophy on Friday.
Bangladesh will face India in the final of the tri-series on Sunday.
The virtual semi-final between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which turned into a heated battle in the closing stages after on field umpires, decided against awarding a no ball to Bangladesh when they needed 12 runs off the final 4 balls. Captain Shakib Al Hasan even decided to call back Mahmudullah and new man Rubel Hasan in a possible walk out in protest to the decision a ball earlier that resulted in the run out of Mustafizur Rahman.
However, sense prevailed, the Bangladesh batsmen decided to carry on with Mahmudullah then hitting a four off the next ball, and sealing a famous win with a beautiful flick shot off the penultimate ball of the match.
The right hander who had been leading Bangladesh in the absence of Shakib, showed his classy with a blistering knock of 43 off just 18 balls that included two sixes and three fours.
The Bangladesh chase began on a high note with Tamim Iqbal scoring superb half century but they lost their way after his dismissal for 50. With the situation fast moving out of control, Mahmudullah turned the match around with his strokeplay.
Earlier, captain Thisara Perera and Kusal Perera struck half centuries as Sri Lanka recovered from a top-order batting collapse to post a competitive 159 for 7.
Put into bat, Sri Lanka were in all sort of trouble early in their innings against the Bangladeshi bowlers, led by young left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman whose incisive pace spell rocked the home side batsmen.
But the Perera duo, Thisara (58) and Kusal (61) showed their mettle with a fine counter-attacking batting display to take their side past the 150-run mark.
Sri Lanka were 41 for 5 in the ninth over and they were staring at a meagre total but Thisara and Kusal had other ideas as the duo flayed the Bangladesh bowlers at the later stages of their innings.
Kusal ,who scored his third half century of the tournament, needed 40 deliveries for his 61. He hit seven fours and one six. Thisara, on the other hand, faced 37 balls for his 58 and struck three fours and as many sixes.
Bangladesh were, however, on top initially with their bowlers, led by Mustafizur Rahman (2/39), creating havoc on the home side top-order batsmen.
The 22-year-old Mustafizur, who was bought by Mumbai Indians for Rs 2.2 crores for the upcoming IPL season, had in-form Kushal Mendis (11) in the fourth over and then dimissed Dasun Shanaka (0) in his next over. At one stage, his figures read 2-1-4-2.
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan gave the first breakthrough by claiming opener Danushka Gunathilaka (4) . Shakib struck in his comeback after he made it to the team after sitting out of the previous matches due to to a finger injury.
Mustafizur was also involved in the run out of Upul Tharanga (5) in his second over, as the sixth over yielded two wickets.
The back of Sri Lankan batting was broken by the end of powerplay overs as they were reduced to 35 for 4 at the end of sixth over.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz joined the party by removing Jeevan Mendis in the ninth over as Sri Lanka lost half of their batsmen for just 41 runs. This was before Thisara and Kusal resurrected the Sri Lankan innings with a stunning batting display.