Imrul helps Chattogram extend lead
Chattogram Challengers moved a step closer to confirming their play-off spot in the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BBPL) with a convincing six-wicket victory against Dhaka Platoon at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
With this win, Chattogram have now secured 12 points, with six wins out of eight matches.
It was however a dull contest, especially compared to the recently concluded Chattogram phase where most matches were high-scoring encounters.
Dhaka struggled to get off to a good start on a pitch that seemed to be on the slower side. The overnight rain had added to the sluggish nature of the wicket as the ball stopped a bit, which was later acknowledged by losing team captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza during the post-match press conference.
The innings played by Chattogram’s stand-in skipper Imrul Kayes, who had adjusted to the situation of the match, proved to becrucial. Imrul had earlier said that he always tries to play according to the demands of the team and the match situation, and he paced his innings brilliantly. His unbeaten 53-ball 54 was just what the team needed to chase down Dhaka’s modest 124 for nine with eight balls to spare.
Imrul, who is now second n the top-scorers’ list with 289 runs -- just 11 behind Dawid Malan -- could however consider himself lucky as Dhaka skipper Mashrafe called him back when he was run out. The incident took place in the fourth over when Imrul had wandered out of the crease after playing a defensive shot and Mominul Haque took off the bails. Even though the on-field umpire had ruled him out, Mashrafe -- after alking to Tamim Iqbal -- decided to withdraw the appeal and allow Imrul to bat on as the batsman was not aware that he had left the crease.
After that Imrul was smart, sneaking singles when necessary while punishing bad deliveries with confidence. The best one from his highlights reel would be the massive six he smashed off pacer Hasan Mahmud in the 18th over. The ball that sailed over midwicket only stopped after striking the walls of the second tier in the gallery.
However, even while chasing the modest total, Chattogram were in a spot of bother initially. The table-toppers lost both of openers inside four overs after adding just 25 runs. Imrul, who saw his team through a difficult situation, said that the mantra behind his batting was not panicking in crunch situations.
“Even in Chattogram we were in a difficult situation while chasing a 124-run total. At that time I thought that if there is a set batsman and he can bat through the innings, it becomes easier to win these type of matches. But it becomes difficult if we panic. So, when I walked out there, I did not think about the strike rate. My plan was to finish off the game,” Imrul said during the post-match conference.
Earlier, Dhaka Platoon could not build partnerships of note as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. A team high of a 34-ball 32 came from Mominul Haque in the middle while a 15-ball 23 from Wahab Riaz and another unbeaten 12-ball 17 from Mashrafe at the death helped Dhaka get past the 120-run mark. Chattogram pacer Muktar Ali shone with the ball, returning impressive figures of two for 18.