|| CF DESK ||
Shakib Al Hasan hammered a brilliant 32 ball-67 but that was not enough to save Sylhet Strikers from a six-wicket defeat to Sylhet Strikers in their first match of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) today at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Barishal, the tournament's current runners-up, posted a daunting 194-7 after electing to bat first, thanks to Shakib's ultra-aggressive knock studded with seven fours and four sixes.
However, Sylhet, which had beaten Chattogram by eight wickets in the first game, cruised to victory with an over to spare, scoring 196-4, with Mushfiqur Rahim fittingly sealing the deal with a towering six.
Sylhet's consecutive second victory came thanks to a combined batting performance with Towhid Hridoy smashing highest 55 off 34, with seven fours and one sixes. Opener Najmul Hossain Shanto made 40 ball-48, hitting five fours and one six, Zakir Hasan smacked 18 ball-43, laced with four fours and three sixes.
Mushfiqur Rahim who finished the game in style, was not out on 23 off 11 after clobbering three fours and one six. Thisara Perera also contributed in winning cause with late blitz -a 9 ball-20 not out, featured with one four and two sixes.
Shanto and Hridoy set the platform after Syhet lost the opener Colin Ackerman for just 1 as he was trapped run out in the second ball of the innings.
With 102 off 68 deliveries, the duo put the chase back on track and made the side heavy favorites to win the game. Shanto was run out of the partnership after a mix-up with Hridoy.
Barishal's Afghan recruit Karim Janat gave the side a ray of hope when he dismissed Hriody via leg-before, but Zakir unleashed an aggressive brand of cricket, much to Shakib's chagrin. Shakib, however, did not lead the team because Barishal delegated that responsibility to Mehidy Hasan Miraz.
Chaturanga de Silva though removed Zakir with a return catch, Sylhet were just 21 runs away from the victory with 14 balls left. However Mushfiqur and Perera's further assault made sure the game wouldn't go to the last over.
Barishal also made a good start with Anamul Haque Bijoy (29) and Chaturanga de Silva (36) sharing 67 runs. Mashrafe Bin Mortaza struck twice as Barishal faced a mini collapse but Shakib counterattacked in style, leaving Sylhet bowlers in disarray.
Mashrafe dismissed Shakib in the final over to finish with 3-48 in four overs, but the ace allrounder had already ensured that Barishal would end on a high note. It didn't matter, though, against a team whose batters later put on a spirited performance.