The curtains came down on Sylhet’s BPL 2017 with a relatively straightforward chase that saw Khulna Titans prevail by six wickets to open their account this season.
That meant the home franchise, Sylhet Sixers, were consigned to their first loss in four matches.
Khulna, who completed the chase in 18 overs, benefitted from Michael Klinger’s calm. The Australia batsman, who made 47 not out on BPL debut, found support from Carlos Brathwaite, who struck an unbeaten 23, to cruise home in style.
Sent in to bat, Sylhet posted 135 for 5 on the back of captain Nasir Hossain’s 47. The sluggish nature of the surface resulted in batsmen holing out in attempting big shots, with Mahmudullah and the impressive West Indies bowler Jofra Archer, who cranked the pace up and bowled consistently over 145 clicks, took two wickers each.
After conceding 200 plus in their first game, Khulna were a lot tighter and consistent in their lengths. This helped them overcome a poor start, after Upul Tharanga and Danushka Gunathikala went briefly on a rampage. Gunathilaka made a crisp 25-ball 26.
Nasir and Ross Whiteley added 57 runs for the fifth wicket, but there was hardly any zing about their batting. Nasir finished on an unbeaten 47 off 35 balls with five boundaries while the usually aggressive Whiteley made 27 off 23 balls as they made 135.
Taijul gives Sylhet a footing
Opening the bowling, Taijul put Khulna under pressure with his build-up of dot balls that eventually resulted in the wickets of Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Chadwick Walton and Rilee Rossouw in the first 6.5 overs. Khulna still needed 92 at that stage. Taijul bowled a charging Shanto, while Walton too was bowled trying to force him on the off-side. Rossouw’s reverse sweep on 19 found Krishmar Santokie at short third-man.
Klinger’s calm helps Khulna prevail
Mahmudullah and Klinger added 50 for the fourth wicket, until the Khulna captain was caught at long-on in the 14th over. Brathwaite, batting at No 6, started with a six and in the same over Klinger struck two fours to reduce the target down to 23 off the last five overs. The rest of the chase was simply a formality.
Scorecard: Khulna Titans 138 for 4 (Klinger 47*, Taijul 3-19) beat Sylhet Sixers 135-5 (Nasir 47*, Mahmudullah 2-12) by six wickets