Everybody loves a good underdog story, but take a minute and put yourselves in the shoes of Shakib Al Hasan, in the shoes of a Dhaka Dynamites player.
Here was a team that had signed up some of the most experienced T20 players in the world. Here was a team that witnessed packed stadiums in almost each of their crucial encounters. It was the only team in the Bangladesh Premier League that had banners depicting the face of its owner in the stadium during certain matches.
Sure enough, the Dhaka Dynamites were the most powerful team in this season of the Bangladesh Premier League, but they were also the team that had to deal with the maximum amount of pressure.
Yes, a win for the Rajshahi Kings yesterday at Mirpur would have made a great story, but Dhaka’s flawless performance under pressure which eventually led them to the championship yesterday, deserves plenty of acclaim.
Their 56-run win over the Kings yesterday gave the Dynamites their first BPL trophy. The Dhaka Gladiators won the first two seasons, while the Comilla Vikings won the third. This was the first time that a captain aside from Mashrafe Bin Mortaza had won the BPL.
Batting first, Dhaka were restricted to 159 for nine, courtesy of some good bowling from the Kings. Forhad Reza, who finished with figures of three for 28, was the key wicket-taker.
After the exchange, the Kings were dismissed for 103. Some tight bowling from the Dynamites blocked the boundaries early on for the Kings and that eventually built up plenty of pressure and led to wickets.
The turning point of Rajshahi’s chase was the run out of Sabbir Rahman. The Kings were going well at 59 for one in eight overs and looking to build a base. However, in the 10th over, Mehedi Maruf threw a direct hit from short fine leg and got Sabbir out. They lost their next three wickets for 25 runs and that included the key scalp of Darren Sammy, who was bowled by Shakib in the 14th over after smashing him for a six.
Two wickets each from slow left-armers Sanjamul and Shakib and one from Abu Jayed, brought the Kings down to 93 for six in 15 overs.
Jayed got Mehedi caught at short fine leg in the next over while Dwayne Bravo extended broke the tie with Junaid Khan at the top of the wickets column by bowling Forhad Reza in the 17th for his 21st wicket.
Kesrick Williams had retire hurt after Bravo’s throw to run him out off his own bowling, accidentally hit his elbow in the 17th over.
Andre Russel got Nazmul Islam caught behind in the next over before the Dynamites erupted in celebrations on the field.
Earlier, almost all of Dhaka’s batsmen batted with a similarly aggressive approach.
Dhaka sent all their hitters and specialist batsmen up front and that led to Shakib Al Hasan batting at eight. The plan yielded mixed results. Dhaka lost three early wickets but at the same managed to keep their tempo high.
At the end of the seventh over, Dhaka were struggling at 50 for three.
However, a quick-fire 41-run stand in just 4.1 overs between Evin Lewis and Kumar Sangakkara brought them back in the game again. Lewis was the main aggressor in that stand, smashing six fours during the partnership. He particularly enjoyed Afif’s bowling, hitting him for three consecutive fours in the 10th over.
Lewis’s dismissal for 45 in the 11th over brought Bravo, who maintained the tempo with a four and a six. He was, however, run out in the 13th over.
At 101 for five in 13 overs, Dhaka slowed down a bit and tried to rebuild. In the next three overs they only scored 14 runs and lost the crucial wicket of Russell in the 16th over.
Russel was brilliantly caught at deep cover by Forhad Reza. He first caught the ball, threw it up in the air in the nick of time to avoid touching the boundary rope and then dived back in to complete the marvellous catch.
Forhad then came on to bowl in the death overs and dismissed Shakib with a brilliant yorker.
Dhaka however scored 28 runs, thanks to Sangakkara and Sanjamul Islam, in the last two overs and crossed the 150-run mark.