There was no room for either Kumar Sangakkara or Mahela Jayawardene in the Dhaka Dynamites line-up in Mirpur yesterday for their match against the Rangpur Riders. While the move initially seemed a bit striking, the logic behind the decision got clearer as the match progressed.
Evin Lewis was given a go and with Andre Russel back in the side, there was no question about picking anybody else.
Thankfully for the Dynamites, the changes worked immensely well as Lewis hammered eight sixes to score a 34-ball 75 and take the game away from the Riders.
Lewis began by smashing Shohag Gazi, one of the more economical bowlers of the competition, for a four and a six in the third over. He then similarly punished Shahid Afridi in the fifth by driving him over extra cover and slog sweeping over backward square leg.
Just before the end of the Powerplay, Lewis hit Gazi for two consecutive sixes and took the overall score to 56 for no loss in the first six overs.
Mehedi Maruf, Lewis's partner, initially began the onslaught with two boundaries off Muktar Ali in the second over, but was forced to take a backseat amidst all the boundaries.
As opposed to the more popular notion, things got a lot more intense after the Powerplay as Afridi was hit for three sixes in the seventh over.
Desperate Rangpur skipper Arafat Sunny did not know what to do and brought himself on in the next over, but Mehedi hit him for a six straight down the ground as well. Liam Dawson was brought in the next over in order to stem the flow of runs, but he failed as well as both Mehedi and Lewis dispatched him for two sixes.
Eventually Sunny had to depend on a part-time bowler to break the partnership. Soumya Sarkar trapped Mehedi in front in the tenth over and dismissed him for a 31-ball 40. The 103-run stand in 9.5 overs though had given Dhaka the perfect start.
Soumya was brought in again and while he did get pulled and cut for a six and a four, he managed to get Lewis caught at long-off off the fifth ball of that over.
Following those two wickets, Shakib Al Hasan, Dwayne Bravo and Mosaddek Hossain played a few cameos to help the Dynamites reach 188.
It was a score that put the Riders under enormous pressure and they crumbled from the start. Afridi opened the innings, but it did not work out as he was dismissed off the very first ball by Abu Jayed. An over later, Jayed dismissed the in-form Mohammad Mithun as well. With their two key batsmen back in the pavilion, the middle order collapsed to 46 for six in nine overs.
Ziaur Rahman and Shohag Gazi entertained with an 87-run stand for the seventh wicket but they were always a long distance away from the asking rate. While Ziaur hit three sixes and six fours during his 43-ball 60, Gazi hit 36 off 26.