Even after a brilliant innings from skipper Mushfiqur Rahim, Khulna Tigers were short by 12 runs against Dhaka Platoon in the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019-20.
Batting first, Dhaka accumulated 172-4, courtesy of some excellent power-hitting in the finishing overs by Asif Ali. In reply, Khulna were startled at the very beginning of their innings and despite a brilliant knock from their captain, they fell short as they ended on 160-8. Dhaka's young fast-bowler Hasan Mahmud, who was adjudged man of the match, was impressive once again as he picked up four wickets to dismantle Khulna's batting, picking up crucial wickets of Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Rilee Rossouw, Robbie Frylinck and Mushfiqur.
Winning the toss, Khulna Tigers skipper Mushfiqur Rahim decided to have a bowl first and invited his counterpart Mashrafe Mortaza to bat first.
Tamim Iqbal and Anamul Haque took Dhaka off to a good start as they notched up 44 in the first five overs. But Mohammad Amir struck in the sixth over to send Tamim back for 25 before Anamul was struck LBW by Shafiul in the next over. Anamul reviewed but replays suggested that the ball was hitting the stumps and the batsman had to back.
Shafiul had almost struck twice in the same over as Khulna reviewed against a not out call, but replays showed that the ball was just clipping the stumps and Mahedi survived. But he did not survive for long as he gave Aminul Islam Biplob a simple return catch to go back in the hut for 1.
From there on, Mominul Haque and Ariful Haque built a 56-run stand to set a platform for a late flourish. The stand was broken when Mominul was sent back for 38 by Amir, reducing Dhaka to 118-4.
From there on, Asif Ali played a brilliant cameo of 39 from 13 deliveries, hitting two fours and four sixes, to take Dhaka to 172-4. The fifth-wicket partnership brought Dhaka 54 runs off 21 deliveries with the last five overs costing Khulna 62 runs.
Ariful was unbeaten on 37 whereas Amir picked up a couple of wickets for Khulna.
Chasing 173, Khulna pulled out a rabbit out of their hat as they fielded Aminul Islam Biplob to open alongside Mehidy Hasan Miraz. But their trick brought no avail as both their openers were gone within the fourth over. Biplob skewed a Mashrafe delivery to get caught at mid-off and Mehidy's stumps were cleaned up by Hasan Mahmud as the batsman attempted a scoop.
Sylhet's situation turned to worse when they lost Shamsur Rahman and Rilee Rossouw within a span of four deliveries. Shadab got rid of Shamsur while Hasan removed Rossouw, Khulna's most prolific run-scorer in this tournament with a ripper as Khulna sank to 44-4.
Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim put up a partnership with Najibullah Zadran to steady Khulna's ship, but Zadran struggled to milk runs as the run rate kept creeping up. Zadran managed to score some quick runs to accelerate but he was run out for 31 off 29 deliveries. The astounding fact in Zadran's innings was he scored 24 runs off boundaries with three fours and two sixes and managed to score only 7 off the remaining 24 deliveries.
Khulna needed 61 off the last four overs and Hasan's 17th over cost Dhaka 13 runs but Hasan picked up a vital scalp as he cluttered Robbie Frylinck's stumps to send him back. From there on, Mushfiqur Rahim tried as he brought up his fifty off 27 deliveries and brought the equation down to 24 off 8. But it was the youngster Hasan who had the last laugh as he dismissed Mushfiq for 64 to diminish all of Khulna's hopes. Mohammad Amir was dismissed in the last delivery of the innings as Khulna ended on 160-8.
This win takes Dhaka to the top spot of the BPL points table with 12 points as Khulna have dropped down to fourth with their third defeat of the tournament.