Gladiators thrash listless KhulnaStaff Correspondent
Holders Dhaka Gladiators got off to a flying start in the Bangladesh Premier League when they thrashed a depleted Khulna Royal Bengals by 62 runs in the opening match on Saturday.
Half-centuries from Owais Shah and Anamul Haque steered Gladiators to a massive 204-4 before left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain claimed 4-9 to restrict Royal Bengals to 142-8.
The tournament organisers owed a big thank to Khulna Royal Bengals who had struggled to assemble 11 players for the match after losing out seven Pakistanis to a whimsical Pakistan Cricket Board decision.
Everyone at the Bangladesh Cricket Board sympathised with the side, who could manage just one replacement for the opening match in Riki Wessels, the England-born son of former South Africa captain Kepler Wessels.
However, there was no such sympathy from Gladiators, who were at their terrific best after winning the toss and opting to bat.
The defending champions never looked back after Joshua Cobb had dispatched Nabil Samad for two fours through mid-wicket in the third and fourth balls of the first over.
Dollar Mahmud bowled Cobb for 17 in the next over but there was no stopping of run flow as Mohammad Ashraful took 18 runs in the third over, bowled by Shahadat Hossain.
Dollar came back to dismiss Ashraful, who typically attempted to glide the ball and missed the line to be bowled for 22 off 11 balls.
Shah joined Anamul to add 90 runs for the third wicket as Gladiators kept up their momentum. Anamul dominated the partnership and took the honour of becoming the first half-centurion of the second edition of the BPL from 39 balls with four fours and three sixes.
Anamul was out for 50 in the next ball after he had reached the milestone as Dollar made him his third victim. Replacing him at the crease Sakib al Hasan hit two boundaries and a six and was unbeaten on 27 from 14 balls.
Shah, who reached his fifty in 33 balls with two runs off a Nabil Samad delivery, was out in the last ball of the innings for 84 runs, but by then Gladiators had already crossed the 200-run mark.
The Englishman faced just 48 balls in his innings and clubbed four fours and six sixes.
Shah partly credited Anamul, his partner in the third-wicket stand, who helped him read the bowlers.
‘We were talking about there. He was asking questions and I was asking questions about the bowlers I have never faced,’ said Shah. ‘He is only 20 years old and he has a bright future.’
Khulna Royal Bengals were never in the hunt despite scoring 38 runs in the opening stand as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Wessels made highest 30 off 23 balls after opening the innings with Nazimuddin (27) but after he got out Royal Bengals lost three wickets for the same score to be reduced to 4-67.
Asif Ahmed scored 29 off 25 balls to give their innings some respectability, though it was nowhere near the target.
Dhaka Gladiators 204-4 in 20 overs (OA Shah 84, A Haque 50, M Ashraful 22; D Mahmud 3-40) v Khulna Royal Bengals 142-8 in 20 overs (MH Wessels 30, A Ahmed 29, Nazimuddin 27; M Hossain 4-9, KS Lokuarachchi 2-29).
Result: Dhaka Gladiators won by 62 runs.
Man of the match: OA Shah (DG)
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