Iftikhar storm powers Barishal to 202 against Chattogram

Fortune Barishal captain Shakib Al Hasan looks on from the dugout during their match against Chattogram Challengers in BPL9 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on 13 January, 2023Fortune Barishal Facebook page

Pakistan’s Iftikhar Ahmed hit a blistering 57 off 26 balls to power Fortune Barishal to 202-7 against Chattogram Challengers in the opening match of the Chattogram phase of the ninth Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Friday.

Iftikhar hit three fours and five towering sixes after Ibrahim Zadran 48 off 33 balls to take Barishal to a daunting total on a batting paradise at the ZACS.

Pacer Abu Jayed was Chattogram’s most successful bowler with three wickets, but he leaked 49 runs in his four overs.

Chattogram’s other pacer Mrittunjoy Chowdhury had an even worse day at the office, conceding 53 runs for just one wicket.

Sent to bat, Barishal got off to a rollicking start courtesy of Mehidy Hasan Miraz.

The all-rounder was promoted to open the innings to take attack to the opposition in the powerplay. Miraz did exactly that, hitting Jayed for a three consecutive fours in the opening over.

He then hit Taijul Islam for a six in the third over but lost his wicket the same over, by top-edging a sweep shot and getting caught by Ziaur Rahman, departing for 24 off 12 balls.

Skipper Shakib Al Hasan then came to the middle and started from where Miraz had left off. He hit Mrittunjoy for back-to-back fours in the first two deliveries he faced but couldn’t extend his knock, getting cleaned up by the pacer in the very next ball.

Despite losing two wickets, Barishal were the happier of the two sides after the powerplay, reaching 59-2 after six overs.

But Barishal lost their third soon after the powerplay, losing opener Anamul Haque for 30 off 21 balls, were in need of a partnership from the middle-order to steady the innings.

Afghanistan’s Ibrahim and Bangladesh’s Mahmudullah did exactly that, forming a 49-run stand off 31 balls.

After Mahmudullah departed for 25 off 17 and Zadran missed out from a fifty for just two runs, the onus fell on the lower middle-order to take their score over 200.

Iftikhar did exactly that, hitting five sixes and three fours in the last three overs which yielded 51 runs for Barishal.