After a few dull matches in the Dhaka leg of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur was finally treated to an exciting blast of T20 cricket yesterday. The large crowd was a witness to big-hitting displays from two West Indians, and it was Dhaka Dynamites' Kieron Pollard's fireworks that cancelled out Carlos Brathwaite's pyrotechnics and helped his side post a four-wicket victory over Khulna Titans.
However, a local hero stole the limelight in the end as Jahurul Islam superbly executed a reverse sweep off Brathwaite -- the first time he played that shot in his long career -- to the fence to confirm the win with one ball to spare. Jahurul's unbeaten 45 off 39 balls that contained five fours also brought him the player-of-the-match award to appease concerns over the lack of contribution from local batsmen.
It was a real cracker from Brathwaite as he struck six sixes and four boundaries during his unbeaten 29-ball 64, which helped Khulna score 156 for five after recovering from a slothful 47 for three in the first 10 overs. Dhaka were however more sluggish in their chase as they were reduced to 41 for five at one stage but Pollard's rain of sixes bought them back into the game and put his side in a good place before he was dismissed. Undeterred by that setback, the local duo of Jahurul Islam and Mosaddek Hossain put on 43 for the unbeaten seventh-wicket stand to make sure Pollard's knock would not go in vain.
Understandably, Pollard's 24-ball 55 that contained six huge sixes -- including four in a Mahmudullah Riyad over -- and three fours was praised highly by everybody.
"I was just happy to finish the game. Pollard did most of the work because when he came in we required 14 runs per over but when he left, it was only eight. As I wrongly tried to play the yorkers from Brathwaite and failed and seemed to put the team in danger when we just required six runs from the last over, I gambled with that reverse scoop off the second-last ball -- the first time I played this shot in a match," said Jahurul.
Dhaka Dynamites skipper Shakib Al Hasan expressed his excitement over the quality of the game. "We showed character. Carlos's great knock gave Khulna the momentum and we lost early wickets, which set us back but Pollard and Jahurul played really well to show that we aren't a one-man team. It's difficult to chase 160 when you lose more than two-three wickets in the Powerplay, but we did that today and that gives us confidence," said Shakib during the post-match presentation.
Khulna coach and Sri Lanka great Mahela Jayawardene also showered praise on the two good knocks in the match. “It [Pollard's] was a very good knock. Carlos did something similar for us. That's what T20 cricket is all about,” said Mahela.