Dhaka Dynamites piled on the highest total of this edition of the Bangladesh Premier League so far when they hammered 194 for five against defending champions Comilla Victorians at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. It may have been even worse for Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s Comilla, because in-form batsman Mehedi Maruf had started like a house on fire after Dhaka were asked to bat first.
Maruf, who made a flying start to this edition by hitting an unbeaten 45-ball 75 against Barisal Bulls on November 8, started in much the same fashion with Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara. It was the Sri Lankan who got things going with two consecutive boundaries in the second over off Sohail Tanvir, but his younger partner was not to be left behind. Maruf hit Mashrafe Bin Mortaza for a four and a six in the third over, which ended with the Dynamites reaching 31.
Sangakkara’s dismissal in the next over, stumped off Al-Amin for a 12-ball 20, brought no relief for Comilla as Nasir Hossain made full use of his promotion to number three and he started immediately. He punished his ODI captain Mashrafe for two boundaries in the fifth over, one driven through covers and the other cut to the point fence, before Maruf took strike and hit the last ball over the cover fielder for four. Mashrafe had leaked 31 from his first three and Dhaka had reached 51 from the first five.
The run-rate hovered around 10 an over for the remainder of their 84-run second-wicket partnership, which ended when Nasir failed to clear a Ryan ten Doeschate delivery over long off. He had scored a 35-ball 43 and gave Maruf the support that enabled Dhaka, at 117 for two in the 13th over, to think of a total close to or exceeding 200. Maruf hit one more six to take it to take Dhaka to 138 at the end of the 15th over in the company of Ravi Bopara, but both departed when in the next over bowled by leg-spinner Rashid Khan. Bopara missed a slog and was bowled, and a ball later Maruf mishit a lofted shot to mid off to be dismissed for a 39-ball 60 with four boundaries and three sixes.
Skipper Shakib Al Hasan, who has not had the best time of it with the bat, then took over, hitting ten Doeschate for a straight six and a four in the 17th over. Fellow all-rounder Dwayne Bravo hit another maximum off Tanvir in the next over. Shakib chose to take on the best bowler on display, Khan, and hit him for a towering six over long on in the first ball of the 19th over. His luck ran out a ball later as he hit the ball straight to deep midwicket, but the skipper had done his job as 13-ball 24 had taken Dhaka to 178 for five with nine balls to go.
One of those nine went for five wides, which ruined Khan’s figures to an extent, but three for 28 is still an excellent return when a side scores 194.