Breathtaking Shanto sets record-chase for stunning Khulna victory

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DHAKA, Jan 11, 2020 (BSS) – A blazing century from opener Nazmul Hossain Shanto enabled Khulna Tigers to successfully chase the highest score in BPL history when they outclassed Dhaka Platoon by eight wickets for a stunning victory in the last group match of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BBPL) at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium here today.

Having brought up his century off just 51 balls, Shanto finally smashed a blitzkrieg 57-ball 115 not out, clobbering eight fours and seven sixes, as Khulna gunned down Dhaka’s daunting 205-4, with 207-2, with Shanto befittingly sealing deal with an intriguing boundary through square-leg with 11 balls to spare.

In the process of the record chase, Khulna eclipsed Sylhet Royals’ 198 against Rangpur Riders in 2013.

Shanto is the fifth Bangladeshi batsman to hit a BPL century after Shahriar Nafees, Mohammad Ashraful, Sabbir Rahman and Tamim Iqbal and the third centurion in this season after Andre Fletcher and Dawid Malan.

Having achieved the unlikely victory, Khulna topped the point table and set a clash against Rajshahi Royals in the first Qualifier on Monday. Dhaka Platoon demoted to fourth position and would play Eliminator game against Chattogram Challengers at the same day.

The winner of the Qualifer-1 game would seal the final of the BBPL straightway while the loser would play the Qualifier-2 game against the winner of the Eliminator game.

Khulna made the intentions clear right from the start of the chase but the anchor was Mehidy Hasan Miraz, who cut through Dhaka bowling in disdain to hit 25 ball-45 with seven fours and one six.

Along with Shanto, he added 70 in just 6.5 overs to give the side a flying start before being dismissed by Mahedi Hasan.

Shanto then unleashed some powerful strokes from his repertoire to torment the Dhaka bowlers and kept the rhythm, leaving Rilee Rossoue, a master of T20 cricket, a mere spectator.

Shanto who scored first 15 runs off 13 balls, brought up his half-century in just 27 balls, before increasing his tempo to an uncanny degree.

Rossoue meanwhile played one shot too many to be dismissed by Shadab.

With Rossouw, Shanto shared 81 off just 40, in which the former contributed 23 off 17 with two sixes.

However as Shanto continued motoring the run-wheel in ultra-aggressive fashion, Khulna’s victory looked imminent.

To his delight, his captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who missed out a ton just 24 hours ago at the same venue, played a perfect foil and accompanied him in achieving an astounding victory, remaining not out on 18 off 10.

Earlier, Mominul Haque and Mahedi Hasan demonstrated a powerful batting show to steer Dhaka to a total that looked imposing.

Both of the batsmen in the process picked up their highest T20 score and added a record 153 runs for the fourth wicket stand, following a disastrous start.

Mominul Haque blasted 91 off 59, clattering seven fours and four sixes to lead the charge while Mahedi remained not out on 36 ball-68, hitting three fours and five sixes.

Touted as Test specialist, Mominul’s revolution was a sight to behold as he firstly steered Dhaka through a torrid period which saw them reeling to 35-3 after the first powerplay.

Dhaka was sent to bat first, a decision made by Mushfiqur Rahim was justified well by Shafiul Islam and Robbie Frylinck.

While Frylinck dealt a double blow, removing Tamim (1) and Anamul Haque Bijoy (10), Shafiul got rid of Jaker Ali (14).

Mominul who opened the innings with Tamim, replacing Bijoy, firstly weathered the attacked resolutely before going on to berserk.

With Mahedi firstly tormenting the bowlers to score runs rapidly, Mominul grew with strength to strength and at one phase, in a blink of eye outscored Mahedi to score his second half-century in the tournament.

He continued in same vein and approached to his first T20 century before Amir finally got the better of him.

Mahedi however then came out from the shell to help Dhaka propel past 200 runs mark. They looked sure for a victory, knowing Khulna needed to produce a record chase to win but hardly they knew, they would be undone by a batsman who hasn’t had any T20 credential before this glitzy knock.

BSS/SMP/MMA/2249hrs

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