Mash’s Sylhet make BPL playoffs on home turf
Sylhet Strikers, the team built on giving freedom to young local stars, ensured that the franchise was the first team to make the BPL playoffs with a 31-run victory over Khulna Tigers at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium today in front of an expectant crowd.
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's Sylhet now has 16 points and none of the bottom three will reach equal number of points, thus securing qualification.
Rubel Hossain was the man for Sylhet with the ball after Towhid Hridoy and Zakir piled up the runs for the table-toppers. Rubel dismissed Andy Balbernie and Tamim Iqbal in the third over in chase of Sylhet's 193 before a 54-run stand between Shai Hope and Mahmudul Hasan Joy saw Khulna fight back. Hope (33 off 22) did not manage the required connection and was holed out at deep mid-wicket off Rejaur Rahman Raja in the ninth over but Khulna were doing slightly better in terms of scoring-rate than how the Sylhet innings had progressed after the end of nine overs. Mohammad Amir then got the better of Joy in the 13th over after a 21-ball 20.
Azam Khan looked menacing during a 17-ball 33 but he fell to compatriot Imad Wasim, Khulna chase was quickly dismantled with skipper Yasir Ali and all-rounder Mohammad Saifuddin unable to rescue with bigger knocks. Rubel was the pick of the bowlers with four for 37 while Amir and Raja bagged two each. Sylhet's win maybe was slightly sour as skipper Mashrafe had some injury troubles and was unable to complete his overs as he went off the field.
Earlier, after being put into bat, Sylhet lost Najmul Hossain Shanto early during a slightly slow start. Towhid Hridoy and Zakir Hasan played dominating knocks, putting the Khulna attack under fire during a 114-run stand to wrest back momentum their way.
Towhid has kept plundering runs this BPL and came out with another commendable knock, hitting a 49-ball 74, laced with nine fours. Looking good for a ton, Hridoy departed in the 16th over and Nahidul Islam then picked up Zakir's wicket after a well-made 53 off 38 deliveries. Cameo knocks from Ryan Burl (21 off 11) and Thisara Perera (17 off 7) saw Sylhet put on 192 for four.