The ongoing Chittagong leg of the Bangladesh Premier League continued to be the highlight of the fifth edition as the strip at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium produced another day of big scores, although yesterday's games did not have the competitiveness that characterised the first two days of the tournament's port-city leg. The top teams had a good day as top-placed Khulna Titans notched the highest score of the edition in their 68-run defeat of Rajshahi Kings after second-placed Dhaka Dynamites cantered to a seven-wicket win over Chittagong Vikings, which effectively knocked the home team out of the race for the playoffs.
Khulna's Shafiul Islam scalped five for 26 to bowl out Rajshahi for 145 in 19 overs in chase of the Titans' 213 for five. It was one of the more one-sided matches of BPL 2017 as Rajshahi were out of the running halfway through the chase when skipper Darren Sammy was caught for one in the 11th over. Only Rony Talukdar (36) and Mehedi Hasan Miraz (29) scored more than 20 for Rajshahi. Shafiul picked up the wickets of Luke Wright, Mominul Haque, Sammy, Mushfiqur Rahim and the last one of Mohammad Sami to pick up his first five-for in T20 cricket.
Sammy had won the toss and chosen to field and on a good pitch his bowlers were put to the sword, first by Nazmul Hossain (31-ball 49), then Nicholas Pooran (26-ball 57 with six fours and three sixes) came to the party. Holding it all together was Afif Hossain's unbeaten 38-ball 54 and he allowed the big-hitting Carlos Brathwaite to come in and have his way in the last four overs, which yielded 50 runs. Brathwaite scored 34 off 14 with three fours and as many sixes. Two of those sixes came off celebrated pacer Mustafizur Rahman in the 17th over, when the left-handed paceman dropped the West Indian on zero off his own bowling. Mustafizur did not enjoy his second match back from injury as he gave away 48 runs in four wicketless overs.
In the day's first match, an Evin Lewis special outshone and outpaced Anamul Haque's second fifty of the season as Dhaka made a chase of 188 look simple, winning with seven balls to spare.
After winning the toss Chittagong scored 187 for five, thanks to a 47-ball 73 from Anamul and 59 off 40 from skipper Luke Ronchi. Dhaka skipper Shakib Al Hasan was taken for 51 runs off his four overs, and although Sunil Narine had fabulous figures of one for 11 in four overs, no other bowler conceded fewer than nine runs an over. At the halfway stage, Dhaka would still have drawn some hope from the bowling lineup they were up against -- only Luis Reece (7.27) among their frontline bowlers have an economy rate below 7.5 while Taskin Ahmed, Al-Amin Hossain and Tanbir Hayder have all conceded more than nine runs per over this season.
And it proved to be a cakewalk as Lewis hammered a 31-ball 75 with three fours and an astonishing nine sixes. Four of those sixes came in one over, the ninth, from Sunzamul Islam and the first three were in consecutive deliveries. The third in that sequence brought up Lewis's fifty off 24 deliveries. By the time he left, caught off a Rayad Emrit full toss at deep point, the West Indian was not only the highest run-scorer of this edition but also left his side an imminently manageable 69 runs off 52 balls to win. His dismissal was followed by the departure of Joe Denly in the next over for 44, but Shakib and Cameron Delport (43 off 24) stitched together an untroubled 67-run fourth-wicket stand in 41 balls to take Dhaka home.