Usman ton trumps Azam century in stellar BPL show

Chattogram Challenegers batter Usman Ghani celebrates after completing his fifty with teammate Max O'Dowd against Khulna Tigers in the ninth Bangladesh Premier League at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on 9 January, 2023Facebook

Bangladesh Premier League was set ablaze with century and counter century as Usman Khan of Chattogram Challengers overtrumped the ton of Khulna Tigers’ Azam Khan on Monday at the Sher-e- Bangla National Stadium.

Chasing 178, Usman started hitting from the word go and remained not out on 103 off 58 balls to ensure a comprehensive nine-wicket victory for his side.

Usman, a 27-year-old who has played just seven T20s and two first-class matches and came into spotlight through Dubai T10 League, struck 10 fours and five sixes in his innings that made the daunting chase seem like a walk in the park.

Usman Ghani was named the player of the match

Dutchman Max O’Dowd played a supporting role and scored 58 off 50 in an 141-run opening stand off 85 balls.

By the time O’Dowd was dismissed by Nahidul Islam, the match was almost over and the only real interest was whether Usman would reach three figures or not.

The Pakistani, who reached his half-century off 34 balls, brought up his century in style when he honked a six against Mohammad Saifuddin in the 19th over.

Earlier, the SBNS was hit by a storm named Azam Khan, who blasted 109 off 58 balls thanks to nine boundaries and eight sixes.

Azam Khan hit the first century of BPL9
Shamsul Hoque

Some of his shots were not properly middled yet they comfortably went beyond the boundary and when middled they reached top tiers with ease.

He reached the triple-figure mark in the penultimate ball of the innings with his seventh six of the match, and topped it off with another huge hit in the final delivery.

People in the press box were applauding the marauding innings and many were recalling Moin Khan, Azam’s father and former Pakistani wicketkeeper.

Amid all the power hitting and entertainment Khulna Tigers reached 178-5.

Khulna, who lost the toss, however, took a little while to get going. After losing opener Sharjeel Khan and Habibur Rahman early for five and six respectively, the pair of Azam and Tamim Iqbal took 62 balls to add 82 runs.

Tamim, who got several lives thanks to butter fingers of opponent fielders under flood light, ultimately got dismissed for 40 off 37 balls.

Khulna were on 104-3 from 14.1 overs then and lost Yasir Ali for just one but Azam singlehandedly took the hammer on ballers to see his team finish on a substantial score which in the end proved inadequate.