Shanto scored a scintillating knock of 115 runs off 57 deliveries to ensure that Khulna chased down a record total of 206 with 11 deliveries to go.
After setting Khulna Tigers a target of 206, Dhaka Platoon must have dreamt of ending the group stage of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019-20 with a win. '
But who knew, Nazmul Hossain Shanto would turn on a storm on Dhaka and take Khulna home? Guess no one. Because Shanto had scored only 115 runs in 8 innings in this BPL so far and also, Khulna had to make a record to chase down this total, as the previous record of chasing in the BPL was 197.
But that was what happened as Shanto scored a blistering 115 off 57 deliveries to complete a record chase with 11 deliveries to go.
Shanto's innings took Khulna to the top spot of the BPL points table, which means they will face Rajshahi Royals in the qualifiers and will have two opportunities to reach the final. And for Dhaka, this defeat means that they will have to face Chattogram Challengers in the eliminator and will have to win to keep their hopes of a final alive.
Winning the toss, Khulna skipper Mushfiqur Rahim decided to field first and they had a dream start as they picked up three wickets within the powerplay. But a brilliant stand of 153 between Mominul Haque and Mahedi Hasan ensured that Dhaka reached a monumental score of 205-5.
Chasing a massive 206, Khulna were off to a flyer as their openers Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Nazmul Hossain Shanto brought up their 50 partnership in the fifth over and notched up 60 in the powerplay with Miraz being the aggressive one.
This stand was broken by Mahedi Hasan when he went through Miraz's defences to send him back for 45 off 25 deliveries. But Shanto picked it up exactly from where Miraz left as he started to blast the bowlers all around the park to pick up his fifty off 27 deliveries. Rilee Rossouw gave Dhaka couple of chances to get back in the game but Shadab Khan and Mashtrafe Mortaza both failed to grab the chances. Mashrafe injured his hand attempting a diving catch and had to leave the field.
This two brought up their fifty partnership off 28 deliveries and Shanto gave an opportunity to Thisara Perera but the bowler could not grab a return catch as Shanto punished him by taking 20 runs off the over.
The 81-run stand between Shanto and Rossouw was broken when Shadab struck to send Rossouw back for 23 and bring Dhaka back into the game.
But Shanto clearly had other ideas as he continued to steamroll the Dhaka bowlers and went on to pick up his maiden century in T20s off just 51 deliveries. He became the fifth Bangladeshi batsman to score a hundred in BPL with the previous four coming from Tamim Iqbal, Sabbir Rahman, Mohammad Ashraful and Shahriar Nafees. Shanto also became the first Bangladeshi centurion in this BPL and overall the third after Andre Fletcher and Dawid Malan.
Shanto and Mushfiqur ensured that no more wickets were lost and Khulna reached the target with 11 deliveries to go, ensuring a record chase. Shanto was unbeaten on 115 off 67 deliveries, hitting 8 sixes and 7 fours and was adjudged man of the match.
Earlier, Khulna managed to pick up three Dhaka wickets within the powerplay. Robbie Frylinck sent Tamim back for 1 in the second over and then struck Anamul Haque on the pads but the umpire said not out. Khulna reviewed and replays showed that the ball was clipping the leg-stump and Anamul survived. Frylinck though got his man in the next over as Anamul gloved a short delivery to Mushfiqur Rahim to return for 10.
Jaker Ali Anik, who came into the side in place of Ariful Haque, was the next to go back as Shafiul Islam caught the batsman off his own bowling to reduce Dhaka to 35-3.
Khulna were given another opportunity to knick off another scalp as Mahedi Hasan skewed a slog-sweep attempt on 12 but Shohidul Islam only managed to miss the catch and Mahedi made sure of making Khulna pay as he put up a stand with Mominul Haque to bring Dhaka back to the game.
Mominul went on to pick his fifty off 40 deliveries and their stand reached hundred in just 57 deliveries. Mominul got more aggressive after reaching fifty and at the other end, Mahedi picked up his third fifty of this BPL off just 31 deliveries.
Mominul was finally gone in the 19th over as the left-hander went back for a scintillating 91 from 59 deliveries off Amir, breaking the 153-run stand which is the highest 4th wicket stand in BPL history.
Despite Mominul's departure, Mahedi and Thisara Perera took 17 off the last over to take Dhaka to 205-4. Dhaka took 76 runs in the last five overs and 132 in the last 10 to reach a humongous total as Mahedi was unbeaten on 68.