Spinners dictate the terms
What was expected to be a cracker of a start to the Bangladesh Premier League's Sylhet phase turned out to be a dull affair both on and off the field at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium yesterday.
In the day's first fixture, a low-scoring encounter between Khulna Titans and Rajshahi Kings, the Titans clinched their first win in five matches, that too by successfully defending the low total of 128 runs, courtesy of some fine bowling from left-arm spinner Taijul Islam.
Taijul ended with figures of three wickets for just ten runs from his four overs while Junaid Khan also bagged three wickets to help bundle out Rajshahi on 103 and hand the side their second defeat in four games.
In chase of the small total, the Sylhet pitch remained a spinner's paradise as apart from a 23-run knock from Rajshahi skipper Mehedi Hasan Miraz, none of the other batters were able to score significantly.
Earlier after taking the first guard, Khulna continued their batting woes with Ariful Haque's 26 being the highest score of the day for the batting side, a fact which proved crucial for Khulna in the end.
In the day's second game it was yet another low-scoring encounter as Sylhet Sixers were all out on just 69 runs, courtesy of off-spinner Mahedi Hasan's brilliant bowling.
Mahedi picked up four wickets for 22 runs from his four overs, making it seem as if Sylhet were about to be bundled out for the lowest ever target -- which remains to be Khulna's 44 runs in the 2016 edition of the tournament -- as were reeling on 22 for seven at one point.
Sylhet's Alok Kapali was compact at one end, remaining unbeaten on 33 runs off 31 balls while none of the other batsmen were able to reach double figures.
Apart from Mahedi's heroics, Comilla's Pakistani pacer pacer Wahab Riaz bagged three wickets.
In reply, despite losing the wickets of Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque for ducks early on, Shamsur Rahman and Imrul Kayes steadied the ship with an unbeaten 59-run partnership which helped the side sail to an eight-wicket win -- their third victory in five games. With three defeats in four matches, Sylhet will be desperately looking to stage a comeback on home soil.