Shahriar Nafees became the latest cricketer to have benefitted from quitting captaincy in the Bangladesh Premier League when his 51-ball 71 guided a struggling Khulna Royal Bengals to a seven-wicket win over Duronto Rajshahi on Friday.
Shahriar gave up the captaincy after Royal Bengals were shot out for the tournament’s lowest ever total of 67 for an 89-run loss to Chittagong Kings on Thursday night, which effectively threw them out of semi-final race.
But Shahriar said they still wanted to finish the tournament on a high and for that he had sent a text message to the owner of the franchise on their way to the hotel seeking a release from captaincy.
‘I told him to release me from the job. I was scoring enough runs, but could not see the team home. It’s always important to get runs. But the more important thing is seeing the team winning the matches,’ said Shahriar, who with his third fifty-plus innings, is now leading scorer in the tournament with 384 runs.
Lou Vincent went out for the toss instead of Shahriar and found Tamim Iqbal on other side after Duronto Rajshahi also had a dramatic change in their dressing room on the eve of the game.
Duronto’s foreign players had refused to take to the field for a pay dispute and as a result Tamim returned to take the charge in place of first-choice
captain Chamara Kapugedera.
After a lot of drama behind the scene Duronto’s players finally agreed to play but the events had a clear impact on their game as they lost their first six wickets for 64 runs.
All-rounder Mukter Ali rescued the side from further embarrassment with an unbeaten 41 from 30 balls that took them to 138-9, a competitive total on a slow and turning Sher-e-Bangla track.
But Shahriar made it look easy with his new-found approach that saw him hitting 11 fours. He was out at a time when Khulna Royal Bengals needed only six runs and they faced no trouble to get it.
Royal Bengals reached 140-3 with four balls to spare with Jehan Mubarak unbeaten on 30.
Shahriar gave credit for his fine form to BCB game development head Nazmul Abedin, who worked with him for two weeks before the tournament.
‘When I missed the first match of Bangladesh Cricket League [franchise-based four-day competition] I had some spare time with me. I worked with Fahim sir [Nazmul Abedin] and it helped me a lot,’ said Shahriar.
Duronto Rajshahi 138-9 in 20 overs (M Ali 41 not out, S Ervine 23; K Santokie 3-18, S Islam 2-15) v Khulna Royal Bengals 140-3 in 19.2 overs (S Nafees 71, J Mubarak 30 not out, TR Birt 23; B Edmondson2-29).
Result: Khulna Royal Bengals won by 7 wickets.
Man of the match: S Nafees (KRB).