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Bowlers shine as Sylhet squash Barisal

18Sylhet Superstars’ bowlers made an unbelievable turnaround as they bowled out Barisal Bulls for 58, the lowest-ever total in the BPL, and then chasing it with ease to win by nine wickets.

The massive swing in fortune – Sylhet lost five of their six matches previously – coincided with Shahid Afridi replacing Mushfiqur Rahim as captain for the remainder of the tournament.

This was also the second time in the competition that Barisal were bowled out for a sub-100 score and the fourth instance in this year’s competition for the team batting first. Sylhet also completed the fastest chase, closing out the game with 51 balls to spare, overtaking the previous record help by Comilla Victorians, who beat Rangpur Riders with 49 balls to spare.

It was all so different before the game started. The whole focus was on what damages would be done by the returning Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis for Barisal.

But the dream opening partnership lasted just three overs as Evin Lewis dragged a pull to be caught at mid-on off Sohail Tanvir, for 12. Gayle struck Mohammad Shahid for a six over cover but departed next ball, well caught at long-on by Nazmul Hossain Milon. Afridi dropped Rony Talukdar at cover but was caught and bowled by Rubel off the next ball.

Mahmudullah was the first of Ravi Bopara’s three wickets in the tenth over, after the Barisal captain holed out to mid-on. Seekugge Prasanna, shaping to cut a ball that was coming in, missed it to be bowled before Mehedi Maruf edged one to wicketkeeper Mushfiqur to cap off the three-wicket over. Afridi had the number of Taijul Islam and Sajedul Islam before Mohammad Sami was the last wicket to fall, in the 16th over.

The previous lowest total was Khulna’s 67 all out in the 2013 edition. Ravi Bopara’s three wickets apart, Afridi bowled the most economical four-over spell in the BPL, giving away just five runs to take two wickets while Shahid and Rubel also finished with two wickets each.

Dilshan Munaweera ramped a catch to third-man in the first over before Junaid Siddique and Nurul Hasan took control of the shortest chase quickly. Junaid was unbeaten on 34 off 37 balls with six fours while Hasan was 23 not out. The speed at which they knocked off the target would have pleased the Sylhet’s fans.

Brief Score:

Barisal Bulls 58 (Bopara 3-12, Rubel 2-6)

Sylhet Super Stars 62/1 (Junaid 34*, Hasan 23*)