Shakib’s Barishal win BPL opener
Despite some hitches along the way, Shakib Al Hasan-led Fortune Barishal were able to register a four-wicket victory over Chattogram Challengers in the opening match of the eighth edition of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.
After concerted efforts from the bowlers helped restrict Chattogram to a modest 125 for eight, Barishal eventually romped to a convincing victory with eight deliveries to spare.
Opener Najmul Hossain Shanto departed early but Shykat Ali, the other Barishal opener, kept things steady at one end with not much scoreboard pressure. Shykat played a 35-ball 39-run knock while stitching together decent stands with Shakib, Towhid Hridoy and Irfan Shukkur.
With 86 for three after 14 overs, it seemed Barishal would romp to victory easily. However, Chattogram skipper Mehedi Hasan Miraz sparked life into the game when he removed Shykat and Shukkur in successive deliveries in the 15th over.
And Salman Hossain was made run-out in the final delivery of the same over, it seemed that Chattogram could stage a late comeback into the game.
However, Ziaur Rahman and experienced Dwyane Bravo ensured Barishal did not lose any more wickets as they eventually got over the line comfortably. Ziaur scored an unbeaten 19 off 12 deliveries while Bravo was 12 off 10 not out.
For Chattogram, their skipper Miraz stood out with the ball in hand, returning impressive figures of four for 16 in his four overs.
Earlier, after being sent to bat, Chattogram suffered a blow just in the third delivery of their innings. Having started this edition of the BPL with a lofted drive over long on off Nayeem Hasan for a six, Chattogram opener Kennar Lewis got carried away and gave away an easy catch trying to go for another maximum.
Barishal bowlers kept a tight leash on Chattogram since then, not allowing the batters to score freely on a slowish Mirpur wicket while also scalping wickets at a regular interval.
Barishal skipper Shakib remained outstanding with the ball, giving away just nine runs in his four overs. He also scalped the important wicket of Sabbir Rahman, when the right-hander was trapped in front trying to force a sweep after Shakib gave no room to free his arms.
Chattogram were reduced to six for 63 at one stage and had it not been for a quick-fire knock from Benny Howell down the order, the Mehedi Hasan Miraz-led side would not even have a decent total on the board.
Howell, who came down to bat at eight, smashed three fours and as many sixes on his way to plunder 41 off just 20 deliveries. That knock eventually helped Chattogram end up with a modest total.
However, as the match between Barishal and Chattogram went on, much confusion was created regarding the absence of wicketkeeper-batter Nurul Hasan Sohan in the Barishal playing eleven.
While the match was already underway, Barishan issued a press release stating that Sohan, young batter Munim Shahriar and their batting coach Nazmul Abedin Faheem were tested positive for Covid-19, giving an explanation as to why the national side wicketkeeper batter was left out of the team for the game.
However, according to Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chief physician Dr. Debashish Chowdhury, Sohan was declared clear to participate in the game as he had returned negative results in the final two Covid tests after a positive result in the first test.
Sohan, however, is scheduled to undergo another round of Covid test tomorrow.