Tamim Iqbal shone brightest on a day that saw sparkling half-centuries from Shakib Al Hasan, David Warner and Junaid Siddique and Comilla Victorians repaid their star opener with a nail-biting three-wicket win over Khulna Titans in their Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) match at the Sylhet International Stadium last night.
In the day's first game, Shakib hit his first BPL half-century since 2013, an unbeaten 41-ball 61 that saw the side past Sylhet's score of 158 for eight with six wickets and three overs to spare.
But Tamim was the standout performer on a day that was arguably the best in the tournament so far. The left-hander took the chase of Khulna's challenging 181 for seven by the scruff of the neck and hammered a resplendent 42-ball 73 that was studded with 12 high-quality boundaries and one hooked six over fine leg.
Tamim and Anamul Haque put on a 115-run opening stand in just 12.1 overs, with the former reaching his half-century off just 28 balls in the eighth over. All of Khulna's bowlers were at a loss faced with a belligerent Tamim, who victimised off-spinner Al-Amin for three inside-out boundaries over extra cover in the 10th over.
He eventually miscued an attempted pick-up shot to be caught on the the square leg fence off Lasith Malinga. Skipper Imrul Kayes came in and hit a brace of sixes against Carlos Brathwaite to bring the situation further under control after Anamul holed out for 40 and Shamsur Rahman was run out. Requiring just 40 from five overs with seven wickets in hand Liam Dawson, Imrul, Shahid Afridi and Ziaur Rahman all departed trying to hit sixes. Needing eight off the last over, Thisara Perera hit a four and a six to take them home with two balls remaining.
Earlier, after Khulna were asked to bat, opener Junaid Siddique hit an attractive 41-ball 70 with four fours and as many sixes, which proved to be the backbone of the innings. The total could have been even bigger but the Titans lost some steam after Junaid was run out with the score on 145 in the 16th over, and scoring just 13 runs in the last two overs is what cost them in the end.
In the day's first match Shakib was visibly frustrated by an uncharacteristically poor fielding display from Dhaka and seemed to channel that into an aggressive, match-winning innings that lifted Dhaka from 37 for three in the fifth over and took them comfortably past Sylhet's total.
Shakib took the aggressor's role in a 75-run stand with Afghanistan's Darwish Rasooli in just eight overs. Shakib brought up his fifty off just 30 balls in the 12th over from Lamichhane, which saw him clobber the young leg-spinner for three of his eight boundaries and two sixes.
Andre Russell came in after the fall of Rasooli's wicket and clobbered four humongous sixes in an unbeaten 21-ball 40 that shot Dhaka to 163 for four in just 17 overs.
For Sylhet, it was Warner -- battling with an injured elbow that will see him leave the tournament after the Sylhet leg -- who gave Sylhet a chance to upset the mighty Dynamites after winning the toss. On 22 off 21 balls when Sylhet had collapsed to 86 for five, Warner launched an offensive that realised 72 runs in the last seven overs before he was sixth man out in the 19th over, caught off Shakib, for 63 off 43 deliveries.