POST TIME: 19 January, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Flawless Shakib leads Dhaka from front
Sports Reporter, Sylhet

Flawless Shakib leads Dhaka from front

Dhaka Dynamites captain Shakib Al Hasan swings his bat to slam a boundary during his unbeaten knock of 61 against Sylhet Sixers in their BPL-6 match at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium in Sylhet yesterday. BCB Photo

Skipper Shakib Al Hasan led his side from the front with an imperious all-round performance as Dhaka Dynamites got back to the winning-track, crushing hosts Sylhet Sixers by six wickets yesterday at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium. The captain smashed a sublime 41-ball 61 (not out) before snaring two for 34 runs in the side’s fifth win in six matches, thus widening the team’s lead on the points table. Andre Russell played a perfect foil to him, shellacking 40 off 21 balls studded with two fours and four sixes. Two of the sixes landed at the third tier of the stadium, forcing a new ball to come into play. However, Russell’s last six with a pull over deep midwicket sealed the deal with Dhaka posting 163 for six in 17 overs in reply to Sylhet’s 158 for eight, thanks to skipper David Warner’s 43-ball 63.

The target was slightly tricky but such was Dhaka’s firepower that they made a mockery of it, giving an indication that the 20-run loss in a low-scoring affair against Rajshahi Kings in the last match was just a one-off incident. Sunil Narine got off the chase with a flier, playing a 10-ball 20 cameo even though Dhaka lost Mizanur Rahman, who replaced Hazratullah Zazai as opener, cheaply.

Pace bowler Taskin Ahmed and Nepalese leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichane pegged back Dhaka’s innings, claiming the wickets of Narine and Rony Talukdar (13), leaving the visitors reeling at 37 for three.

As Sylhet sensed a victory in front of a cheering home crowd, Shakib gave a statement “write off Dhaka at your own peril” by batting with a sheer aggression for the first time in the tournament. The skipper’s timing was spot on. He even dispatched good deliveries with utter disdain to keep the runs flowing.

With Afghani recruit Darwish Rasooli, he added 75 off 48 balls to help Dhaka claw back into the match and later his 27-ball 51-run unbroken fifth wicket partnership with Russell brought up the victory with incredible ease.

Russell dominated the partnership with marauding strokes, but Shakib was a full package—playing with both caution and aggression—to ensure that Dhaka faced no hiccups at any point of the game. Shakib struck eight fours and two sixes in his first half-century of the tournament.

David Warner seemed to leave a rich legacy before his departure from the BPL. For the second consecutive time, he brought up a half-century in the Sylhet phase of the tournament to give the side an impetus.

More than his batting, his passion for victory and Sylhet was a sight to behold. Even with an elbow problem, he never hesitated to dive at full length when it was a matter to save just a single or a four. His energetic fielding saved some runs, but Dhaka’s batting firepower was ultimately too much to handle.

However, Warner batted with the same passion and panache and eventually hit eight fours and one six in his 63 off 43 balls, his second straight and third half-century in the tournament in six matches. Liton Das gave the side a flying start with 27 off 14, smashing four fours and one six but Sixers’ middle order couldn’t capitalize on it, leaving the onus on Warner.

Zaker Ali came up with support for the captain and the duo shared 62 runs to pave a platform of propelling the side past 150. Zaker Ali made 25 off 18. Dhaka’s South African pacer Andrew Birch, playing his first match, scalped three for 42.