Pakistan’s out-of-favour opener Ahmed Shehzad scored a brilliant 113 off 49 balls to lead the Barisal Burners to a remarkable eight-wicket win over favourites Duronto Rajshahi in the first semi-final of the Bangladesh Premier League.
Rajshahi, who had topped the points table at the end of the tournament’s preliminary stage and put up a challenging 184 for six in the last-four clash, were undone by a superb batting display by Shehzad, who struck 12 boundaries and six maximums in his whirlwind innings. He was provided good support by Brad Hodge, who hit 33 and shared a 103-run opening stand with him.
Mohammad Sami, who just a day earlier had starred with a five-wicket haul, had no answer to Shehzad’s strokeplay and finished wicket-less.
Earlier, Rajshahi had bounced back after having been reduced to three for three. Sean Ervine led the comeback with a 61-ball 82 as he shared a 110-run partnership with Mushfiqur Rahim (58).
Batsmen put Dhaka in final
Elsewhere, Dhaka Gladiators quashed the challenge put up by Khulna Royal Bengals to march into the final, beating their opponents by nine runs.
Dhaka scored 191 for six courtesy rapid knocks by Imran Nazir (41), Azhar Mahmood (65), Mohammad Ashraful (47*) and Shahid Afridi (27*).
In reply, the Bengals finished on 182 for seven. Captain Shakibal Hasan’s 41-ball 86 went in vain, while Dhaka’s Elias Sunny took three wickets.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 29th, 2012.