A gamble that paid off
It took Mahmudullah Riyad just one over to change the game. He scalped three wickets in over number 20 and defied Rajshahi Kings the seven runs they needed to lead the Khulna Titles to a crucial win.
It was a difficult over to bowl. And it therefore was not a surprise to see an ecstatic Riyad let out a roar after Nazmul Apu got stumped off the last ball.
It might have been just six balls, but there was plenty of planning required for that over and that is something that Riyad explained after the game yesterday.
“My main strike bowlers were Junaid [Khan] and [Shafiul Islam] Shuhash. But they were done early. I didn't have any option and that's why I brought myself on.
“Honestly speaking, I tried not to take too much pressure during the over. My plan was to bowl in the right areas and hope that luck would be on our side. Fortunately it was. I was under immense pressure towards the end though. I think these kinds of matches happen once in a blue moon,” said Riyad.
“I know that Nazmul likes to slog sweep the ball. And so I was never going to let him do that. I was planning to bowl full. But I still wanted to see what he would do and so I stopped just as I was about to bowl the last ball.
“I noticed that he would have tried to reverse sweep it. And so I was confident after that. I had my extra cover outside the circle and then I decided to stick to my plan and bowl it straight. Luckily the plan worked,” he added.
Despite the close win though, Riyad said that he was disappointed with his team's batting performance.
“Personally, I was a little upset with my batting because it was a 160 wicket. We didn't use the opportunity. If we had been a bit more sensible and played aggressively, it could have worked for us.
“Hopefully we will improve. This was the first game and maybe we couldn't tune up well. I want them to play as a team. I believe that we can beat any team if we play as a team,” said Riyad.
Rajshahi's Abul Hasan, who scalped five wickets also spoke to the media yesterday. He credited his slower deliveries for his wickets. “I can bowl them from the back of my hand and I have been practising very hard to perfect this art. So maybe that's why I managed to get that five-for,” said Abul.