Shohidul Islam overcomes personal grief to hold nerve with the ball in tournament’s final over
Gemcon Khulna did justice to their favourites tag by winning the 2020 Bangabandhu T20 Cup, prevailing in a five-run win over Gazi Group Chattogram, one of the most dominant sides through the league phase of the competition. Mahmudullah’s unbeaten 70 took Khulna to a competitive 155 for 7 before he marshalled his troops and kept faith in his young bowlers to come good at the death.
For the last over, he handed the ball to Shohidul Islam, who had lost his father on Sunday. Shohidul went to his Narayanganj home and returned to do a three-day quarantine after testing negative for Covid-19, before he got the nod to be officially available for the final. Shohidul picked up two wickets in the last over off which 16 was needed. He gave away 10 runs as Chattogram’s drop in run rate in the middle overs cost them dearly in the end.
Shykat Ali kept Chattogram in the game until his dismissal in the final over with his maiden T20 fifty. He brought down the chase within their reach with his four sixes in his 45-ball knock but had little support at the other end. Their only substantial partnership was the 45 between Shykat and Shamsur Rahman for the fourth wicket, after Liton Das, Chattogram’s best batsman of the tournament, looked sluggish after a blow to his thigh.
Apart from Shohidul’s two wickets, Shuvagata Hom, Al-Amin Hossain and Hasan Mahmud took one wicket each. Khulna’s fielding, too, was mostly on the money, especially around the boundary line where Shamim Hossain saved important runs in the death overs.
When they batted, however, Mahmudullah had to bring out a one-man show after the rest of the Khulna line-up unravelled around him. He arrived at the crease in the seventh over when Zakir Hasan holed out at deep midwicket. Already, Nahidul Islam had consumed Jahurul Islam and Imrul Kayes during the Powerplay.
Mahmudullah and Ariful Haque put together 40 runs for the fourth wicket to get them out of a jam, before Hom and Mahmudullah added another 34 runs, for the fifth wicket. But once Shamim was run out in the 17th over, following a terrible mix-up, it was left to the Khulna captain to take them past the 150-mark.
Key to this was him batting till the last over as Chattogram captain Mohammad Mithun dished out Soumya Sarkar’s military medium pace. Mahmudullah smashed a six and two fours in a 17-run last over, which ultimately became crucial for both sides. Also missing from the final was Khulna’s premier allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, who missed the game following a bereavement in his family.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
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