Sylhet edge Barishal in battle of the toppers
Bangladesh Premier League frontrunners Sylhet Strikers won their sixth match of the Bangladesh Premier League beating Fortune Barishal by two runs in what transpired to be a thrilling contest between the top two teams on the points table at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur on Tuesday.
Sylhet pacer Rejaur Rahman Raja held his nerves to defend 15 runs in the penultimate over as the table-toppers restricted Barishal to 171-8 to hand second-placed Barishal their second loss of the tournament.
Opener Najmul Hossain Shanto's unbeaten 66-ball 89 gave Sylhet the impetus to post 173-8 after being asked to bat first.
Amidst the crisis at the other end that saw Sylhet being reduced to 15 for three in only the second over, Shanto played the anchor role to safeguard his side to a solid foundation and then motored on later in the innings smashing eleven fours and a six while stitching an 81-run stand with TJ Moores and then a 64-run partnership with Thisara Perera.
Moores scored a 30-ball 40 and Perera hit four boundaries for his 21 runs off 16 balls to help take Sylhet to 173-8.
Barishal pacer Mohammad Wasim Jr sent back Sylhet's top-order as he dismissed Zakir Hasan, Towhid Hridoy, and Mushfiqur Rahim in the second over of the innings but the 21-year-old took some beating in the latter part of the innings and returned with three wickets for 34 runs.
In reply, Barishal openers Saif Hassan and Ibrahim Zadran gave their side a steady start with a 42-run stand before the former nicked one to the wicket-keeper off pacer Tanzim Hasan
Sakib after scoring 31 off 19 balls. Sakib backed it up with the dismissal of Anamul Haque Bijoy an over after.
But Zadran and skipper Shakib Al Hasan took the onus upon themselves giving impetus to the innings with a 61-run partnership but the duo were castled by Raja in the sam over leaving
Barishal 108 for four at the end of 14 overs.
Karim Janat unleashed some fireworks as he hit three sixes for a 12-ball 21 but couldn't see his team through as he was dismissed by Mohammad Amir who also sent back the experienced Mahmudullah to shift the scales in their favour.
A sharp piece of wicket-keeping by Mushfiqur Rahim saw Mehedi Hasan Miraz get run out after hitting a six and Wasim Jr's 10 runs off four balls made things interesting but Raja had done enough to secure a sixth win for Sylhet.