Burners burn Royal BengalsStaff Correspondent
Khulna Royal Bengals added four new players to their line-up but could not change their fortune as Barisal Burners handed them their second defeat in the Bangladesh Premier League at Mirpur on Sunday.
Brad Hodge returned to lead the Barisal side after his Big Bash duty with Melbourne Stars and made an instant impact scoring 53 off 40 balls to orchestrate an eight-wicket win, Burners’ first in the season.
Burners received a 33-run hammering from Sylhet Royals in their opening encounter but appeared to be a completely different outfit after the arrival of Hodge, who had led them to the final in the previous season, with 346 runs in 11 matches.
Khulna Royal Bengals had hoped for a better show than their 62-run opening defeat to Dhaka Gladiators after adding four new overseas cricketers in Daniel Harris from Australia, Lou Vincent from New Zealand, Samiullah Shenwari and Shapoor Zadran from Afghanistan as their replacements for Pakistani players.
But none of the newcomers could make any significant contribution after their skipper Shahriar Nafees opted to bat first and as an obvious result they
were restricted to 142-8 by a disciplined Burners attack.
This has even raised a question on whether there was any urgency to replace the local players with ordinary foreigners, one of whom is not even a full-time cricketer.
Royals’ Australian recruit Harris has recently switched his profession from cricket to Medicare joining Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide as a full-time physician.
Over the past 12 months he has only played Twenty20 cricket in Sri Lanka Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash and in the two competitions he could cross 20-run mark only once.
Khulna Royal Bengals skipper Shahriar Nafees, however, said they had no choice but to field the available players after the Pakistanis had pulled out. They had to rely on statistics instead of player’s current form before making their decision, a strategy which has backfired at least in this match.
Shahriar himself had to shoulder some responsibilities to give his side’s total a kind of respectability and he was apparently successful scoring 43 from 28 balls with the help of nine boundaries.
Riki Wessels, the only foreign player to play both the matches for Royal Bengals, added 48 from 44 balls with three fours and two sixes as the side made a decent progress before collapsing in the final few overs.
Burners never faced any trouble in chasing down the total after their English wicketkeeper Phil Mustard and Hodge scored 78 runs in little less than nine overs in the opening stand.
And even though Mustard (35 from 27 balls) and Hodge departed they eased past the target, reaching 146-2 in 18.3 overs thanks to an unbeaten innings by Joe Denly (30 from 28 balls) and Azhar Mahmood (25 off 16 balls).
Khulna Royal Bengals 142-8 in 20 overs (MH Wessels 48, S Nafees 43; S Islam 1-13, A Kapali 1-18) v Barisal Burners 146-2 in 18.3 overs (B Hodge 53, P Mustard 35, JL Denly 30, A Mahmood 25 not out).
Result: Barisal Burners won by 8 wickets.
Man of the match: B Hodge (BB).
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