Chasing a moderate score of 153 runs, Khulna’s odds were low as they needed 22 runs in last over to win the match
Gemcon Khulna all-rounder Ariful Haque struck as many as four sixes in last over to clinch a memorable win during their Bangabandhu T20 Cup opening match against Fortune Barishal at Mirpur’s Sher-e-Bangla national cricket stadium on Tuesday.
Chasing a moderate score of 153 runs, Khulna’s odds were low as they needed 22 runs in last over to win the match. But Ariful smashed four sixes against Barishal spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz and sealed an outstanding win for the pre-tournament favourites.
The 28-year old Ariful was unbeaten on 48 off 34 deliveries with two fours and four sixes and was unsurprisingly adjudged man of the match for his heroic innings.
Khulna made a shaky start while chasing 153 as they lost both the openers Anamul Haque Nijoy (4) and Imrul Kayes (0) in the very first over bowled by Barishal pacer Taskin Ahmed.
Skipper Mahmudullah and number three batsman Shakib al Hasan formed a 28-run partnership in third wicket but losing Mahmudullah in fifth over deepened Khulna’s worry during chasing of 153.
Star all-rounder Shakib was under the spotlight as he made his return to the competitive cricket after completing his ban term.
Shakib was decent with the ball with one wicket form his three overs conceding 18 runs. With the bat he struck two good looking boundaries but got out at a crucial stage of chasing runs while trying to clear the boundary and get caught at deep square leg against Barishal pacer Sumon Khan in sixth over. Shakib’s innings ended on 15 from 13 balls with two fours.
Losing Mahmudullah and Shakib in back to back overs dented Khulna’s run chase slightly but late heroics from Ariful sealed a stunning win for Khulna in the end.
Jahurul Islam (31) and Shamim Hossain (26) also made significant contributions during Khulna’s chase.
Earlier, Khulna captain Mahmudullah won the toss and elected to bowl first.
Khulna made a perfect start as pacer Shafiul Islam picked the wicket of Barishal opener Mehedi Hasan Miraz in the very first ball of the innings.
Skipper Tamim Iqbal was the second batsman to get out for Barishal after the left hander scored a run a ball 15.
Shakib picked up a wicket in the first ball of his second over as Afif Hossain (2) tried to pull him on a short ball but got caught at deep square leg.
Parvez Hossian Emon was impressive at the other end for Barishal as the left hander scored a crucial half century with three fours and four sixes.
Emon got out in the 12th over after crossing his fifty run mark. Mahidul Islam Ankon palyed a little cameo in late stage with 21 off just 10 balls with three sixes but was caught to wicketkeeper Anamul Haque Bijoy off Hasan Mahmud.
The last pair of Barishal, Taskin Ahmed and Kamrul Islam Rabbi added valuable 14 runs thanks to Taskin’s one four and one six.
Shahidul Islam was the best bowler for Khulna with brilliant display of bowling taking four wickets conceding just 17 runs in his stipulated four overs.