Shahid Afridi failed to inspire Pakistan to a series-win in the UAE but he propelled Dhaka Gladiators to the Bangladesh Premier League title after a match-winning three for 23 helped his side beat Barisal Burners by eight wickets in the final.
Afridi got his first wicket in his first over – the tournament’s highest scorer Ahmed Shehzad dismissed for a 20-ball 28 – before he added two more to his tally as the Burners were restricted to a modest 140 for seven off their quota. Shehzad’s opening partner Brad Hodge remained the team’s highest scorer but even his unbeaten 51-ball 70 failed to take his side to an imposing total.
Rana Naved and Saeed Ajmal were the other wicket-takers for Dhaka, the pacer chipping in with two for 24 while the off-spinner grabbed one for 23.
In reply, Imran Nazir laid the foundations of the Gladiators’ march towards victory, his 43-ball 75 denting Barisal’s hopes of staging a late fightback. Nazir hit six fours and as many sixes as Anamul Haque, with an unbeaten 49, helped Dhaka lift the trophy with 26 balls to spare.
Imran Nazir was adjudged the player of the match for his batting and a catch. Ellias Sunny and Mohammad Sami ended the tournament as joint highest wicket-takers – both taking 17.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2012.