Upul Tharanga fires Sylhet Sixers to thumping win

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Upul Tharanga (69*) and Andre Fletcher (63) shared an impressive first wicket stand of 125 to pilot Sylhet Sixers to a thumping nine-wicket win over defending champions Dhaka Dynamites in the inaugural BPL match of the 2017-18 season. Sylhet’s resounding victory was setup by the bowlers as they had restricted Dynamites to 136 for 7 in their allotted 20 overs.

In pursuit of a modest target, Tharanga and Fletcher began on a good note, collecting 51 runs in the first six overs. It was Tharanga who tried to take the initiative by tonking Mohammad Shahid, the medium pacer, for a six and a four in the second over. Fletcher joined in the fun by smashing Saqlain Sajib over deep extra cover for a maximum in the fourth over.

Adil Rashid tried to stem the run flow by stringing together a few dot balls before he too was hit for a six in the 11th over. By then, Sylhet were just 45 runs away from clinching the game. Shakib Al Hasan, the Dynamites captain, rung in the bowling changes but to no avail.

Eventually, Rashid, arguably the best bowler on show for Dynamites, dislodged Fletcher. However, with Sylhet’s score reading 125 for 1, just 12 short of a comfortable win, the match had slipped out of Dynamites’ hands. Tharanga and Sabbir Rahman then took their side past the finishing line in the 17th over.

The bowlers also deserve their fair share of the credit for giving the new franchise of Sylhet a victorious beginning. The trio of Nasir Hossain, Abul Hasan and Liam Plunkett picked up two wickets each to chip away at the opposition ranks. Nasir started the slide by dismissing Mehedi Maruf in the first over. He also prised out the dangerous Evin Lewis for a 24-ball 26.

Kumar Sangakkara (32) and Shakib (23) played useful hands but Dhaka needed substantial contributions from the experienced duo. Plunkett, who bowled with precision and control in the slog overs, finished with fine figures of 2 for 20, while Nasir took 2 for 21.

Sylhet will next play Comilla Victorians on Sunday (November 5), while Dynamites will lock horns against Khulna Titans on the same day.

Brief Scores

Dhaka Dynamites 136/7 in 20 overs (Kumar Sangakkara 32; Liam Plunkett 2-20, Nasir Hossain 2-21) lost to

Sylhet Sixers 137/1 in 16.5 overs (Upul Tharanga 69*, Andre Fletcher 63; Adil Rashid 1-31) by 9 wickets.