All eight matches during the second week of the BPL’s ongoing 2023-24 season were held in Sylhet, the country’s best batting track. Khulna Tigers were undefeated, now with four victories from as many games, as Sylhet Strikers failed to get on the board in five attempts. Here are some highlights from the week gone by.
Table-toppers Khulna had two more wins this past week, while Chattogram Challengers won three matches in a row to sit just below Khulna. Rangpur Riders bounced back from a defeat at the start of the week with two important wins.
Khulna, led by Anamul Haque and with a heavy West Indies contingent, beat Rangpur by 28 runs before defeating Durdanto Dhaka by ten wickets in a 131-run chase. Mohammad Nawaz starred for Khulna in both games, smashing 55 off 34 balls and taking two wickets against Rangpur, and taking 3 for 15 against Dhaka. Evin Lewis and Anamul have also been consistent performers for Khulna.
Chattogram won both games this week, narrowly defeating Fortune Barishal by ten runs while defending 193, and dominating Sylhet by chasing down 138 with eight wickets and 14 balls to spare. That was Sylhet’s fifth loss in a row.
Mashrafe Mortaza’s injury might have contributed to Sylhet’s poor run, as he played but did not bowl regularly. Mashrafe has since decided to take a break from the tournament to focus on his political work.
A change of venue from Mirpur in the first week to Sylhet in the second might have been a factor in a majority of wins for sides batting first, as dew became less of an issue at the picturesque Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.
There was a debate surrounding Barishal’s Pakistan allrounder Shoaib Malik. Malik abruptly left the BPL after playing only three games, although as per his contract, he was supposed to stay until February 14. This led to rumors about a rift within the team, though Malik later said that it was not the case.
Rangpur’s Babar Azam struck his second fifty of this season’s BPL, making 62 off 46 balls in a match-winning effort against Dhaka. He followed it up with a score of 37 against Comilla.
Bilal Khan, a left-arm quick from Oman, has been effective for Chattogram, picking up eight wickets at 18.25 to currently top the bowling charts in the BPL. This included a haul of 3 of 24 against Sylhet, for which he was given the Player-of-the-Match award.