Shanto Saturday produced an exhilarating 115 not out off 57 deliveries, including eight fours and seven sixes, to guide Khulna to a convincing eight-wicket win over Dhaka in pursuit of a huge target of 206 at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka
Left-handed batsman Nazmul Hossain Shanto registered the maiden century by a Bangladeshi in the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 as Khulna Tigers finished at the top of the seven-team points table after the conclusion of the double round-robin league phase.
Shanto Saturday produced an exhilarating 115 not out off 57 deliveries, including eight fours and seven sixes, to guide Khulna to a convincing eight-wicket win over Dhaka Platoon in pursuit of a huge target of 206 at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.
In the process, he also became the third player to score a ton in the BBPL after Andre Fletcher’s unbeaten 103 for Sylhet Thunder and Dawid Malan’s 100 not out for Cumilla Warriors.
Shanto also became the fifth Bangladeshi to notch a hundred in the BPL after Shahriar Nafees (102* in 2013), Mohammad Ashraful (103* in 2013), Sabbir Rahman (122 in 2016) and Tamim Iqbal (141* in 2019).
“First few matches were tough for me [this season]. As you say in cricket, one day will be good and the other will be bad. As a player I believe you need to be consistent, having been able to score some runs now, will now try to hold onto it,” said an elated Shanto to the media Saturday.
The 21-year old made a brilliant start to his BPL career, scoring 54 on debut for Comilla Victorians against Chittagong Vikings four years ago.
Since then however, the Rajshahi lad took 50 matches to surpass the score from his opening BPL game.
Shanto even struggled this season, scoring 115 runs in eight games, but it all changed Saturday as he blasted as many runs against Dhaka.
“It was frustrating. There is nothing to deny about it. I think T20 is a format I get upset about. But in the last two months I must mention that Khaled Mahmud Sujon sir and Sohel sir [coach] have been an inspiration,” informed Shanto.
“They both had strong belief in me as a batsman and have always tried to encourage me. Their support has helped tremendously in my batting and also helped me to be courageous to break the jinx. Like this season, I did not score any runs in the first four matches but that did not upset me as they both were there to motivate me,” he added.
Shanto came into the Bangladesh team set-up with a lot of expectations riding on his shoulders, thanks to the promise he showed in his age-level days.
With that said, the southpaw was unable to do justice to his talents in two Test matches, three ODIs, and two T20Is.
“I am upset that I have not been able to grab the opportunities [in the national team]. I have always performed in age-level, domestic and other places that I have played in but failed for the national team. If given opportunity in the Bangladesh team again, my focus will be to cement the place,” said Shanto.
“But I do not want to put myself under pressure thinking too much of these things. I believe I should keep on doing what I am doing and when the opportunity comes I will try to maintain that for Bangladesh too,” he added.