Kieron Pollard struck 55 off 24 balls and Jahirul Islam added an unbeaten 45 as Dhaka Dynamites overcame a poor start to beat Khulna Titans by four wickets in a thrilling contest in the Bangladesh Premier League on Tuesday.
With their third consecutive win in the tournament, Dhaka joined Sylhet Sixers at the top of the table though the latter played one more game than the defending champions.
Chasing a modest target after Carlos Brathwaite’s maiden Twenty20 half-century lifted Khulna to 156-7, Dhaka nearly paid the price due to their over dependence on foreign players, before Pollard and Jahirul salvaged the win.
Dhaka sent their four overseas cricketers – Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Shahid Afridi, Cameron Delport– in top-four but none could provide them the necessary spark, leaving the side in danger of their second defeat of the season.
They all left before the end of batting power play as Dhaka lost their first four wickets for just 24 runs.
Skipper Sakib al Hasan provided some resistance but even he could not survive very long. Sakib departed for 20 as Dhaka lost their fifth wicket with just 41 runs on the board.
Pollard turned the corner with his quick-fire half century which included six sixes and three fours.
Shafiul Islam removed Pollard in the 15th over of the innings when the Caribbean miscued a pull shot, which went into the sky before being taken by a diving Khulna wicketkeeper Dhiman Ghosh.
Jahirul kept his cool under-pressure and got an able companion in Mosaddek Hossain, who was unbeaten on 14.
Mosaddek hit a boundary in the last ball of the penultimate over leaving Dhaka needing six runs from as many balls but had a little idea that the game still had plenty of drama left.
Jahirul could score just one run from Brathwaite’s first three balls and a superb piece of fielding at sweeper cover left Mosaddek satisfied with just a single off the fourth ball.
‘I wanted to hit first two balls through the square leg. But he [Brathwaite] was quicker and his yorkers were also perfect. I made a mistake by attempting for a boundary as I put my team into trouble,’ Jahirul said after the match.
‘Finally, I realised since he was successful in giving Yorkers he would try it again. I took a gamble as third man was up. I decided to play a reverse scoop. I never played this shot in the past. Tried it several times in practice but this was for the first time that I did it in the match,’ he said.
Just when Khulna started believing again with Dhaka needing a boundary in the last two balls, Jahirul struck a reverse sweep for four to end the game with a ball in hand.
Brathwaite, who bowled the final over exceptionally well, missed the chance to become a hero though he will remember this game for another reason.
The Caribbean all-rounder, who hit Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes in the ICC World Twenty20 final in 2016, finally got his first Twenty20 fifty as he scored 64 off just 29 balls to give Khulna a competitive score.
Brathwaite struck four fours and six sixes, including two sixes in the final over, going past his previous career best innings of 37 runs.
Thanks to Brathwaite Khulna added 109 runs in their last 10 overs after making a slow start into the game.
South African Rilee Rossouw provided him some support with 30 off 34 balls while opener Nazmul Hossain made 24.
Khulna Titans 156-5 in 20 overs (Brathwaite 64 not out, Rossouw 34, Shanto 24; Hider 2-40) v Dhaka Dynamites 157-6 in 19.5 overs (Pollard 55, Jahirul 45 not out; Shafiul 2-24)
Result: Dhaka Dynamites won by 4 wickets.
Man of the match: Jahirul Islam (Dhaka Dynamites)
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Cricket