Mohammad Sami took 5 for 6 in 3.2 overs
What a strange game of cricket against Duronto Rajshahi. It gave us the right outcome even though we lost the match but the main thing was to qualify for today's semifinal.
It was a hard fought effort by the team after facing a devastating bowling spell by Mohammed Sami. His figures of 5 wickets for 6 runs in 21 balls explained in large part just why we were restricted to 116 all out.
Earlier we won the toss and simply tried to keep our run rates up as we did not want them to fall below Chittagong's or Barisal's who were below us in the table on the same points. It was Nazimuddin in only his second start, Darren Stevens, who batted beautifully and Ashraful who got good starts. Sadly none of them could push on and make a big score as the batting imploded against some high class pace bowling.
It shows just what pace can do in Bangladesh and I hope will once and for all stop the silly chatter about spin being the key on these pitches. When you can bowl in the right places at 140 kph or more it is far more devastating than left arm spin. Sami who already took a hatrick against us in the first match was on a hatrick again and finished with two wickets in two balls to be on a hatrick in the semifinal.
Our objective was to stopÂ Duronto Rajshahi scoring the required runs in 15.3 overs. Both Mashrafe and Azhar bowled superb opening spells to restrict the 6 overs power play to just 36 and when Sunny came on and struck immediately, plus Rana Naved bowling tightly,Â Duronto Rajshahi cold only stumble across the line in the last over. It was a low-scoring, tense affair that once more showed the strength in experience of the Dhaka pace attack.
In the end, the head-to-head results were the deciding factor between level placed teams so we had in fact already qualified for the Semifinal and no one knew. Even so, we made sure by keeping our net run rate positive anyway.
The sad part is we said goodbye to Keiron Pollard last night, as he had to return to Trinidad. What a difference he made for us coming in in the middle order and we shall miss his presence in both the line-up and the changing room. On the positive side is that we welcome the Pakistani trio of Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Awais Zia, direct from their T20 series against England in Dubai.
All three will be in contention for the match against KRB tonight. The balance of our team yet again shifts and some juggling of the line-up is going to be necessary to get the make-up of the side right. We hope to welcome back from illness both MH Rubel and Nazmul Hossain.Â