Mirpur: A superb bowling effort paved the way for Khulna Royal Bengals' second win of the inaugural Bangladesh Premier League, a seven-wicket defeat of Barisal Burners at the Shere Bangla National Stadium on Monday. Having lost six wickets inside 11 overs, Barisal struggled to forge partnerships and limped to 125, a total that was overhauled with minimal fuss to boost Khulna's spirits after a big defeat to Chittagong Kings on Sunday.
The impetus for Khulna's success was in the dismissals of Barisal's dangerous opening combination of Chris Gayle and Ahmed Shehzad, who happen to be the highest (joint) and second highest run-getters of the BPL. Shehzad, Man of the Match in Barisal's last match, was bowled for 0 in the first over bowled by Shafiul Islam and Gayle, who struck a 44-ball century in the tournament opener, made just 2 before he slapped the same bowler to mid-off. Shafiul's opening burst (3-0-7-2) had crippled Barisal and they struggled to locate a tempo after their openers were back in the dug out.
After five overs Barisal had crawled to 15 for 2, and that scoreline became a lot worse when the captain Shakib Al Hasan bowled Brad Hodge first ball of the sixth over. Shakib was outstanding with the new ball (2-1-5-1) and played a big role in Khulna seizing the early initiative.
The rot continued with the dismissal of Barisal captain Shahriar Nafees for 6 to Sanath Jayasuriya and Mithun Ali's run out for 1 left the score at 45 for 5. Shakib, clearly looking to ram the opposition down, brought himself back on and immediately extracted Englishman Phil Mustard for 25. Mustard was adjudged lbw after missing a sweep to a flat delivery from Shakib, though replays suggested the ball had pitched outside leg stump. From 67 for 7, Barisal were helped to 125 thanks largely to Mominul Haque's 24-ball 42, which included the only two sixes of the innings.
That was no match for Khulna. In reply, Shivnarine Chanderpaul steered the chase after Herschelle Gibbs (11) fell early, with 27 off 26 balls. The defining score of the chase came from West Indies allrounder Dwayne Smith who smacked an unbeaten 58 off 41 balls, with his fourth six signaling victory with 16 deliveries to go. Jayasuriya chipped in with an 18-ball 23.