A cracker of a start to the Bangabandhu T20 Cup saw Mahedi Hasan's incredible last over lead Minister Rajshahi to a scintillating two-run win over Beximco Dhaka in yesterday's first game at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
Following a crucial fifty that helped Rajshahi post a challenging 170, Mahedi remained equally instrumental with his off-spin in the last over when Dhaka required nine to win with an on-song Muktar Ali on strike.
Muktar struck three sixes off seamer Farhad Reza in a 19th over that cost 21 runs and brought the equation down from thirty off twelve balls to nine from six as the game went down to the wire.
But Mahedi held his nerve, opting to bowl a bit quicker in the blockhole and the strategy paid off. Mahedi managed to bowl three dot balls to Mukhtar, who had a proper batsman in the form of Sabbir Rahman at the other end on five.
However, Muktar managed to smash a boundary off the fourth ball, leaving Dhaka with five needed off the last two balls and there was yet another twist in the tale as Mahedi bowled a no-ball off his next delivery.
But Muktar failed to capitalise and, with five needed off the final delivery, he was unable to connect.
Earlier, despite losing three wickets inside seven overs, Dhaka looked on track with skipper Mushfiqur Rahim and Akbar Ali adding 71 for the fourth wicket. The Bangladesh Under-19 World Cup-winning skipper departed after scoring 34 off 29 balls as the pressure began to mount with Dhaka needing another 44 runs off 26 balls.
The demands of the situation seemingly required skipper Mushfiqur to guide his side through, but the experienced cricketer once again could not resist the temptation to play his trademark scoop over the wicketkeeper's head. His valuable scalp was claimed by pacer Ebadot Hossain as the batsman was caught behind going for the innovative scoop after scoring 41 off 34 with three fours and a six.
Rajshahi made a decent start to the first innings, buoyed by opener Anisul Islam Emon and skipper Najmul Hossain before the latter departed for seventeen. Emon also departed after a promising 23-ball 35 and Rajshahi went on to lose three quick wickets. Muktar bagged two of those with his pace bowling, including Mohammad Ashraful on five after he was caught brilliantly at point by Naim Sheikh.
It was then the man of the match Mahedi and Nurul Hasan that added a quick 89-run sixth-wicket stand that lay the foundation for a challenging total. Nurul departed on 39 off 20 while Mahedi scored the only fifty of the game from 32 balls, a knock that included four sixes and three fours.