Skipper Mahmudullah led the Titans from frm front, but not with the bat, with the ball    Getty Images
Skipper Mahmudullah led the Titans from frm front, but not with the bat, with the ball Getty Images

Despite an all-round performance by Chittagong Vikings’ Mohammad Nabi, it was Khulna Titans who won the contest by 4 runs. It was Match 8 of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2016 as the teams collided at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka. The spectators witnessed a close contest and a crunch low-scorer that ended in favour of the Titans, who looked to be the weaker team among the two on paper. The Vikings succeeded to restrict their opponents within an achievable target but later on failed to chase the target down, in turn handing the victory to the Titans. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: Khulna Titans vs Chittagong Vikings, BPL 2016, Match 8 at Mirpur

Chittagong Vikings won the toss and elected to bowl first. Khulna Titans sent Riki Wessels and Hasanuzzaman to open batting while Tamim Iqbal sent Andur Razzak to open bowling for the Vikings. The Titans started playing aggressive cricket from the very beginning. Wessels hit Razzak for consecutive fours off the first two balls. The hammering continued and the team had 34 runs without nay loss of wickets playing three overs. It was Mohammad Nabi who changed the game for the Vikings with his over that fetched 2 wickets. He first dismissed Hasanuzzaman for 8 off his first delivery of the match while Shuvagata Hom departed off the last ball of the over.

Set Wessels also departed soon putting up 28 runs and the runrate went down significantly. Alok Kapali along with skipper Mahmudullah tried to build up a partnership but failed as the skipper departed for 3 runs. Kapali added 23 runs. It was not until Nicholas Pooran and Aridul Haque came out that the Vikings had a good partnership building. The two formed the biggest partnership of the innings, fetching 48 runs and pushed the team total beyond 120. At the end of their 20 overs, the Titans had 127 runs on the board with the loss of 7 wickets.

Mohammad Nabi was the most successful of the Vikings’ bowlers with 3 wickets while Taskin Ahmed’s 2 wickets came in handy in restricting the opponents for an achievable total.

However, the Vikings chase was not a smooth one. Just like their opponents, they also went on losing wickets in regular intervals. Tamim Iqbal and Dwayne Smith opened innings for the team while Shuvagata Hom opened bowling for the Titans. They started off slowly as the required runrate was not much high. But they could not get the start they wanted as Tamim soon departed, scoring only 3 runs. Smith also followed suit, departing for the same score a couple of overs later. Experienced Shoaib Malik could not do much destruction as well, as he departed for 4 runs. Wickets kept falling in every two overs and they were 33 for 4 at one point.

Jhaurul Islam added some vital runs to the scorecard while it was again a Mohammad Nabi show with the bat after a terrific performance with the ball and kept the hopes alive for Vikings. Nabi played with patience and did the right things, taking quick singles, seeking for opportunities and utilising them properly and hitting the deliveries in his zone for sixes and fours. But the cricketer failed to end things on a victorious note for his team, as they lost the match from a point where they needed 5 runs off the last two deliveries.

While they disappointed with the bat, the Titans shone with the ball, making a comeback into the game. Shafiul Islam remained pivotal behind the win with his 4 wickets while it was Mahmudullah’s 3 wickets and the brilliant final over that sealed the deal for the Titans. This victory will be a mental boost for Titans who faced a shameful defeat in their last match putting up only 44 runs.

Brief scores:

Khulna Titans 127 for 7 (Riki Wessels 28, Nicholas Pooran 29, Ariful Haque 25*; Mohammad Nabi 3 for 22, Taskin Ahmed 2 for 17) won vs Chittagong Vikings 123 for 9 (Jahurul Islam 25, Mohammad Nabi 39; Shafiul Islam 4 for 28, Mahmudullah 3 for 24) by 4 runs

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)