Khulna Titans have produced the only two exciting matches played so far in the ongoing fourth edition of the Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 and once again, it was their skipper Mahmudullah who led from the front and snatched victory on both the occasions, that too in the very last over.
With two wins in three games, Khulna have started pretty well in the tournament and one must give credit to Mahmudullah, who emerged as the saviour for the Titans in their pursuit of defending the low total of 127 against Chittagong Vikings on Saturday.
Much like the first game, their match against Chittagong went down to the wire as Mahmudullah came on to defend six runs in the final over of the innings.
With two set batsmen in the form of Afghanistan's Mohammad Nabi and Sri Lanka's Chaturanga de Silva at the crease, it was a humongous task for Mahmudullah. But he took up the challenge and, just like the first game, the 30-year old picked up three wickets and gave away only one run. As a result, Khulna won by four runs.
Paceman Shafiul Islam also bowled brilliantly and ended up with figures of 4/28 from his four overs while West Indies all-rounder Kevon Cooper, playing his first game for Khulna coming from injury, took two wickets. Besides Mahmudullah, the bowling duo was also instrumental behind the win.
Earlier in the competition, Khulna were in a pretty similar situation in their opening match against Rajshahi Kings, defending a small total of 133. Rajshahi required seven runs in their last over.
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Mahmudullah plays a shot during their BPL 4 match against Rajshahi Kings DHAKA TRIBUNE
Mahmudullah, formerly the vice-captain of Bangladesh, first scored the highest 32 runs and then came on to bowl the last over. There too, he took three wickets and went on to register a scintillating three-run win.
However, despite the two thrilling wins which were mostly achieved through the heroics of their captain, Khulna need to improve significantly, especially the batting and fielding departments. Their horrible batting display in the second game against Rangpur Riders was definitely a wake-up call for them as they were bundled out for the lowest ever total in BPL history. A lack of fire-power and sensible batting were clearly evident.
The local players in the shape of Shuvagata Hom, Alok Kapali, Mosharraf Hossain and Ariful Haque have to contribute more, along with the overseas cricketers. Opening batsman Riki Wessels needs to stay longer at the crease alongside Nicholas Pooran, who is yet to impress with the bat.
Mahmudullah may have snatched two vital wins out of nowhere but Khulna must not rely on their captain everyday and look to contribute more as a unit. It is also high time for them to form the best possible team combination before the tournament reaches its business end.