Sylhet announce BPL arrival with thumping win
Sylhet Sixers 137 for 1 (Tharanga 69*, Fletcher 63) beat Dhaka Dynamites 136 for 7 (Sangakkara 32, Plunkett 2-20, Nasir 2-21) by nine wickets
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Sylhet Sixers, the newest team in the Bangladesh Premier League, announced their arrival with a nine-wicket thumping of the defending champions Dhaka Dynamites in a packed 18,000-capacity Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.
Sylhet captain Nasir Hossain backed up his decision to field with a tidy spell of 2 for 21 in four overs that helped restrict Dhaka to 136 for 7. Abul Hasan, the only local presence in Sylhet, effectively changed his pace up to pick up two wickets, and alongside Liam Plunkett (2 for 20), reined in Dhaka in the slog overs. Sylhet's bowlers held their own against the firepower of Kieron Pollard and Shakib Al Hasan to limit Dhaka's scoring to 36 runs in the last five overs.
Andre Fletcher and Upul Tharanga then flattened Dhaka with a 125-run opening stand that shut the doors on the visiting team. The pair struck ten fours and five sixes between them to lead Sylhet past the finishing line with 19 deliveries to spare.
Nasir's early foothold
Nasir may have been late for the toss by five minutes, but he had much of the early say. He first removed Mehedi Maruf, in the very first over of the game. Evin Lewis and Kumar Sangakkara then mixed patience with the odd boundary as they offset the early loss, before Nasir broke the 54-run stand. Lewis, who was looking dangerous, having struck three fours and a six, spliced Nasir to long-off, where Abul Hasan completed a straightforward catch.
Four down and going at under seven an over, any hopes Dhaka may have had of a late surge were severely hit with the departures of Kieron Pollard, the world's most experienced T20 cricketer, and Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh's most experienced, in quick succession. Pollard tried to force Abul Hasan over mid-off but was undone by the local boy's slower ball, resulting in an easy catch for Nasir at long-off. Eleven deliveries later, Shakib gave Liam Plunkett the charge, but could barely get his stroke over the in-field, hitting it straight into the hands of Sabbir Rahman at mid-off.
Yes and no
Fletcher had just belted the first ball of the sixth over from Abu Hider for a six when he and Upul Tharanga were caught in a big mix-up. Fletcher meandered out of the crease after trying to muscle one through the leg side and getting hit on the thigh instead. With the batsmen having considered a run, Tharanga ran over halfway down the pitch. Hider did the hard work and got to the ball well in time, but couldn't effect a direct hit that could have made a big difference.
Fletcher redeems himself
Having made just 92 runs in six matches last year and being subsequently let go by Khulna Titans, Fletcher strode out on Saturday with a point to prove. And he proved his worth in emphatic fashion, powering his way to a 38-ball half-century. It was a typically aggressive knock, studded with five fours and three sixes. Fletcher perished after doing all the hardwork, though, holing out with Sylhet requiring 12 more runs. But with Tharanga holding sway with an unbeaten 69 off 48 balls, Sylhet hardly broke a sweat in finishing with two points.
What they said
"The wicket was good. There was nothing wrong in it. We had a bad day."
Dhaka Dynamites' Abu Hider on whether the pitch was on the slower side.
"I think our bowlers were outstanding to keep them under 140, given their team and the size of this ground."
Sylhet Sixers opener Upul Tharanga
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84