Dhaka Gladiators v Sylhet Royals, BPL, Chittagong February 22, 2012

Seventh defeat ends Sylhet's semi-final hopes

ESPNcricinfo staff

Dhaka Gladiators 132 for 2 (Ashraful 40, Mahmood 29) beat Sylhet Royals 128 for 7 (Trego 35, Rana Naved 3-18) by 8 wickets

Sylhet Royals' nightmarish run in the BPL extended to seven losses in seven games, as Dhaka Gladiators added to the crowd in the middle of the table with an eight-wicket win in Chittagong. Dhaka are now in the fourth spot, with the top four teams separated by only two points. All sides, barring Sylhet, are in contention for semi-final spots.

Dhaka chose to field, and systematically choked Sylhet's run flow. Mashrafe Mortaza and Azhar Mahmood began with consistent opening spells, snaring 3 for 46 in eight overs between them. The rest of the attack maintained the pressure, before Rana Naved, who came on as the fourth-change bowler, sliced through the middle order.

Peter Trego (35) and Naeem Islam (28) offered resistance, but could not score runs at a fast enough clip to threaten Dhaka. Naved removed both of them in addition to Shuvagata Hom to finish with 3 for 18 in three overs.

Sylhet's hopes of sneaking a win depended on them getting early wickets. Imran Nazir and Mohammad Ashraful put paid to those hopes with a rampant 80-run stand off just 8.5 overs. Between them, they carted eight fours to put Dhaka on course for a big win. Nazir had to retire hurt after being hit on the head - he wasn't wearing a helmet - by Peter Trego and Ashraful exited for 40, but their departures did not provide any respite, as Azhar Mahmood waded into the Sylhet attack with two sixes and three fours in the 15 balls he faced. Kieron Pollard ushered in the finish with three sixes in 22 off six balls, as Dhaka charged home in the 13th over, giving their net run-rate a significant boost.