Khulna Titans didn't do much wrong in this BPL season, until they came up against a Chris Gayle onslaught in the Eliminator. The West Indian slammed an unbeaten 126 off 51 balls - a BPL record - to end Khulna's promising campaign. Khulna, led by Mahmudullah banked on youth: Nineteen-year-old Nazmul Hossain Shanto and 18-year-old Afif Hossain, who has been picked in Bangladesh's Under-19 squad for the World Cup in New Zealand next year, have been fluent at the top while Mahmudullah, Ariful Haque and Carlos Brathwaite have regularly teed off in the end overs.
Even before the tournament began, Khulna had suffered a big blow with Chris Lynn being ruled out after undergoing a shoulder surgery. Junaid Khan then got injured midway through the league and was forced to return home. The side, however, had enough depth to make the playoffs.
Mahmudullah and Jayed led the run charts and wicket charts respectively for Khulna. Brathwaite, Ariful and Nazmul all provided match-winning contributions. Archer nailed his yorkers and slower balls in the end overs, lending a cutting edge to the attack. His BPL form bodes well for his stint with Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL.
What didn't work
It seemed like Khulna's bowling attack did not have a Plan B, which was exposed by Gayle. The side used as many as seven spinners - Seekkuge Prasanna, Mosharraf Hossain, Tanvir Islam, Akila Dananjaya, Mohammad Irfan, Afif Hossain and Mahmudullah - but none proved penetrative.
Tips for 2018
Khulna could do well to back their youth again and build a more balanced spin attack. Michael Klinger made 154 runs in seven innings but his strike-rate of 97.46 was underwhelming. They need a more aggressive opener to partner Shanto.