The wicket of Mehedi Hasan Miraz cannot be considered a prized scalp by any measure, although it was just the kind of early breakthrough that Chattogram Challengers needed from Mehedi Hasan Rana as they romped to a six-wicket win over Khulna Tigers yesterday.
The ball came in at an angle from the left-arm seamer and landed on a middle stump line. What happened next should give Bangladesh fans looking for a left-arm pacer who can shape the ball into the right-hander much cause to rejoice.
The ball shaped in beautifully after pitching and rapped the knee roll of Miraz’s back foot as he entertained thoughts of whacking the ball towards midwicket. The umpire raised his finger immediately but Miraz, deceived by the swing, felt the ball would have missed leg stump and asked for a review only to find that the ball would have hit middle stump.
Rana’s next scalp can actually be called the most prized scalp of the ongoing Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BBPL). Regarded as one of best openers of all time, Hashim Amla’s off stump was castled by Rana just three deliveries later with another ball that jagged back. Two top-order wickets, one of them being Amla’s, was a great feat and continued the trend of Rana breaking team’s backs by disposing top-order and key opposition batsmen this tournament.
Chattogram bowled out Khulna for just 121 with Rana striking one more time, picking up the crucial wicket of Robbie Frylinck, who failed to get his bat out of the way of a cutter and edged it through to the wicketkeeper. The Challengers picked up their seventh win of the tournament to ensure a playoff spot, becoming the first team to do so in this BBPL.
In many ways, Rana resembles Bangladesh’s ace pacer Mustafizur Rahman, who hails from the same U-19 batch.
He picked up his third player-of-the-match award in this tournament and his three-wicket haul saw him once again take over as the top wicket-taker in the BBPL with 17 wickets, displacing none other than Mustafizur. The rivalry between him and Mustafizur is exciting and just as important is the competitive aspect between these top two wicket takers in this season’s BBPL.
Was Rana enjoying this rivalry?
“Yes, I am,” he replied before saying that he ‘didn’t focus on whether he was crossing Mustafizur’s wicket haul’.
“I am not counting my wickets. I am going match by match and thinking of how to bowl well in each match,” he replied during the post-match press conference yesterday.
His form has been a revelation this season. He said this time he was taking his chances in the BPL. “I was the same [before] but opportunities didn’t come. I waited and was prepared so it’s going well now.”
“When bowling at a batsman I don’t think about who he is and whether he is Amla or not. I am just looking to bowl to a certain standard and that’s how I have gotten success,” Rana said when asked about Amla’s wicket.