Dhaka Gladiators captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza finally regained his rhythm to help his team stop the Sylhet Royals' winning run in the second edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) at the MA Aziz Stadium yesterday. It was sweet revenge for Dhaka, who handed a 31-run defeat to Mushfiqur Rahim's Sylhet, who defeated the defending champions by seven wickets less than a week ago at Khulna.
At the end of the game, Sylhet were left to rue three crucial run-outs in chase of 158 on a good batting track to suffer their first defeat in six games. Dhaka, on the other hand, bounced back from their defeat in the last match with spirited teamwork to bring up their fourth win in five games.
The match had promised a high-class battle between the two top sides but in the end it became a one-sided affair in front of a crowd of nearly 10,000; less than half the opening day's huge turnout as Sylhet failed to match their impressive level of performance till that stage in the tournament.
Dhaka got off to a good start courtesy of Joshua Cobb and Mohammad Ashraful but lost three quick wickets, and it was Darren Stevens who helped his side put up a fighting total with an unbeaten 35-ball 55 that saw four boundaries and two sixes. Anamul Haque also deserved some credit for his 18-ball 32 cameo that featured three huge sixes.
Sylhet lost their first wicket in the second over when West Indies' Dwayne Smith slipped mid-pitch in his attempt to return to the crease and then Mashrafe bowled Paul Stirling to claim his first wicket in the tournament. Sylhet suffered with two more run-outs, that of the in-form Mohammad Nabi and Nazmul Hasan, to seal the fate of the match fate long before the innings ended on 127 for eight.
Mashrafe however was not ready to call it revenge; instead he expressed satisfaction at how his team bounced back onto the winning track and at being able to bowl to his expectations. â€œI was not fully fit in the previous matches but bowled with full fitness in this match. The team needed something from me today and I am happy that I could contribute to the victory. Finally I'm happy as my team won the match,â€ said Mashrafe, who conceded only 14 runs in four overs for one wicket.
SCORES IN BRIEF
DHAKA GLADIATORS: 158-5 in 20 overs (Cobb 29, Ashraful 14, Shah 22, Stevens 55 not out, Anamul 32, extras 4; Benn 1-23, Nabi 1-43, Gazi 1-25, Mominul 1-19).
SYLHET ROYALS: 127-8 in 20 overs (Mushfiqur 41, Chigumbura 25, extras 12; Mashrafe 1-14, Thomas 2-12, Saqlain 2-33).
Result: Dhaka Gladiators won by 31 runs.
Player-of-the-match: Darren Stevens.