Gladiators win it late

Holders Dhaka Gladiators remained hot on the heels of leaders Sylhet Royals after they snatched a 13-run win from the jaws of defeat over Duronto Rajshahi in Chittagong on Friday.
Chasing a simple target, Duronto were poised for their third win when they raced to 99-5 with 33 needed in the last five overs, but they collapsed dramatically and finished at 124-9 for the heartbreaking loss.
Their bowlers did a fine job to restrict Sakib al Hasan-less Gladiators to 137-5 and local boy Tamim Iqbal gave them a positive start with a quick-fire 33 from 18
balls before they threw it away agonisingly.
The addition of two Sri Lankan batsmen, Dilshan Munaweera and Chamara Kapugedara, was unable to give their struggling middle-order a much-needed solidity and the side
paid the price again.
Tamim began with a bang, hitting his national team-mate Mashrafee bin Murtaza for a four and a six in the first two balls of the innings which took his cheering
Chittagong fans to their feet.
The gallery, which was fullest to the brim on a public holiday, exploded again when the left-hander struck four fours in the space of five balls of Mashrafee’s next
Alfonso Thomas silenced all when he made Tamim a catch of Owais Shah at short mid-wicket but there was little respite for Gladiators as newcomer Munaweera started in
the same vein.
He hit Chris Liddle for three consecutive boundaries in the next over to put Gladiators under pressure as Duronto raced to 49-2 in their first five overs. Spin came to
the rescue of champions as Saqlain Sajib conceded only two runs in the following over and Mosharraf Hossain maintained the pressure giving away just four runs in his
first over.
The result came in the shape of Munaweera’s wicket as Saqlain bowled the Sri Lankan for 15. Duronto entered the last five overs with Kapugedera and Jahirul Islam at
the crease and world-record holder Abul Hassan to follow but they could not achieve the simple target.
Gladiators made some regular breakthroughs during the period, leaving it 16 runs needed from the final over. It was all over when Abul Hassan was run-out in the second
ball after he attempted for a single from a mis-hit.
Earlier, Gladiators, who missed the services of Sakib because of a hamstring injury, also crawled during their innings despite some positive blows by young Soumya
Sarker and Anamul Haque at the start.
Soumya replaced Sakib in the line-up and made 30 from 24 balls while Anamul chipped in with 25 from 18 balls but runs seemed very hard to come by from the other
batsman. Englishman Owais Shah realised the situation, and without trying any extravagant shots, made an unbeaten 43 runs from 40 balls, which gave their bowlers at
least something to fight with.
This was the second defeat for Duronto to Gladiators in the BPL-2. Incidentally, Gladiators had also won their first match against the side by an identical margin of
13 runs.
Dhaka Gladiators 137-5 in 20 overs (O Shah 43 not out, S Sarkar 30, A Haque 25; T Islam 2-24, Naeem Islam Jr 2-37) v Duronto Rajshahi 124-9 in 20 overs (T Iqbal 33,C
Kapugedera 31; A Thomas 2-15, M Hossain 2-17, S Sajib 2-17).
Result: Dhaka Gladiators won by 13 runs.
Man of the match: A Thomas (DG).

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