Nawaz Shines as Khulna Stays Undefeated, Sylhet Continues Winless Streak

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During the second week of the BPL’s ongoing 2023-24 season, all eight matches took place in Sylhet, known for its excellent batting conditions. Khulna Tigers continued their winning streak with four victories in as many games, while Sylhet Strikers struggled to secure a win in five attempts. Here are the key highlights from the past week.

Khulna maintained their top position by winning two matches this week, adding to their previous two victories. Chattogram Challengers also displayed good form, winning three consecutive matches and securing the second spot just below Khulna. Rangpur Riders bounced back from an initial defeat with two important wins.

Led by Anamul Haque and supported by a strong West Indies contingent, Khulna defeated Rangpur by 28 runs and then achieved a convincing ten-wicket win against Durdanto Dhaka in a 131-run chase. Allrounder Mohammad Nawaz played a crucial role in both games, scoring 55 off 34 balls and taking two wickets against Rangpur, and claiming 3 for 15 against Dhaka. Apart from Nawaz, Khulna benefited from the consistent performances of Anamul and Evin Lewis.

Chattogram won both their games this week, narrowly beating Fortune Barishal by ten runs while defending 193 and comfortably chasing down 138 against Sylhet with eight wickets and 14 balls to spare. Sylhet, the finalists from the previous season, faced their fifth consecutive loss, including defeats against Chattogram, Comilla Victorians, and Barishal.

The absence of the injured Mashrafe Mortaza, who played for Sylhet but didn’t bowl regularly, may have contributed to their poor performance. Mashrafe decided to take a break from the tournament to focus on political work. The change of venue from Mirpur to Sylhet could also have influenced the majority of wins for teams batting first, as dew was less of an issue at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.

Off-field, there was a debate about Barishal’s Pakistan allrounder Shoaib Malik, who left the BPL abruptly after playing only three games, despite having a contract until February 14. There were rumors of a rift within the team, but Malik clarified later that it was not the case.

Player Performances:

– Batter of the week: Rangpur’s Babar Azam, who scored his second fifty of the season with 62 off 46 balls in a match-winning effort against Dhaka, and followed it up with a 37 against Comilla.

– Bowler of the week: Bilal Khan from Chattogram, who picked up eight wickets at 18.25, topping the bowling charts in the BPL. He was awarded the Player-of-the-Match for his 3 for 24 against Sylhet.

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