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Asia Cup 2022: Bangladesh-Sri Lanka rivalry is like India vs Pakistan, says Lankan batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Sep 02, 2022, 07:41 PM IST
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Photograph:(AFP)

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Batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa has compared the Bangladesh-Sri Lanka rivalry in cricket to that of arch-rivals India and Pakistan.

Sri Lanka batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa has compared his team's rivalry with Bangladesh in cricket to that of arch-rivals India and Pakistan. Sri Lanka defeated Bangladesh by two wickets in a thrilling encounter in the ongoing Asia Cup 2022 on Thursday to knock them out of the tournament.

India and Pakistan share one of the greatest rivalries in the history of cricket. It is a blockbuster affair when the two teams meet irrespective of the competition. Rajapaksa believes the rivalry between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh has also intensified over the years and brings the fans on the edge of their seats.

There were several heated moments between the two teams as they locked horns in the Asia Cup on Thursday. They were also involved in war of words off the pitch and Sri Lankan all-rounder Chamika Karunaratne added fuel to the fire by pulling off the 'Naagin dance' (snake dance) in the dugout after his team's 2-wicket win in Dubai.

Speaking about the rivalry between the two teams, Rajapaksa said it is like when India and Pakistan play each other. "It's like India-Pakistan playing. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are rivals. But we are really good friends off the field," the Sri Lankan batter said in the post-match presser.

It was a valiant effort from Sri Lanka as they didn't head into the game as favourites. They even ended up conceding 183 runs after winning the toss and opting to bowl first. However, a brilliant knock of 60 runs from wicket-keeper batter Kusal Mendis and captain Dasun Shanaka's 33-ball 45 helped them chase down the target of 184 runs with four balls to spare.

Rajapaksa believes the win will serve as a huge confidence booster for the Sri Lankan players ahead of the Super Four stage. Explaining the secret behind their good show against Bangladesh, the batter said playing together in the last few months has brought the team closer.

"We are happy because after winning a game, it's quite thrilling and what we need is winning games. We came here to justify ourselves to the UAE. This tournament was supposed to be held in Sri Lanka, but unfortunately, with the situation back home, we couldn't keep it in Sri Lanka," said Rajapaksa.

"But with all the experience that the players have gained playing together in the last maybe 12 or 15 months, it has brought us much closer as a team," he added.