|| CF Correspondent ||
Middle-order batsman Ariful Haque stole the spotlight hitting four sixes in the final over to hand Gemcon Khulna a miraculous four-wicket win over Fortune Barishal on the opening day of the Bangabandhu Twenty20 Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Tuesday.
Ariful’s late assault against Mehedi Hasan took Khulna to 155-6 in 19.5 overs after Barishal posted 152-9 after being sent to bat first in the comeback match of Shakib al Hasan.
Chasing 153, Khulna innings never took off after Taskin Ahmed dismissed both openers in the first over.
Jahurul Islam [31 off 26 balls] and Shamim Hossain [26 off 18 balls] showed some fight but Khulna kept losing wickets at regular intervals thanks to some disciplined bowling from Rajshahi.
Khulna needed 22 in the final over and skipper Tamim Iqbal entrusted off-spinner Mehedi to finish the job.
But Ariful, who before the final over was sitting on 24 off 29 balls, hit two sixes over long-on in the first two balls and then smashed two more over deep mid-wicket in the third and fifth ball to win it out of the blue for Khulna.
Earlier, Barishal posted 152-9 thanks to Parvez Hossain’s 51 off 42 balls. Khulna pacer Shahidul Islam took 4-17.
Shakib, who played his first competitive match since playing for Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League on October 12, 2019, had an average outing, picking up 1-18 with the ball before scoring 15 off 13 balls with the bat.