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18 January, 2020 01:05:45 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 18 January, 2020 12:40:22 PM

Rajshahi become new BPL champions

Rajshahi become new BPL champions
Rajshahi Royals players celebrate their maiden Bangabandhu BPL trophy with skipper Andre Russell holding the trophy in front with pacer Kamul Islam Rabbi after beating Khulna Tigers by 21 runs in the final at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the capital yesterday. BCB Photo

Andre Russell’s all-round performance powered Rajshahi Royals to come out the new BPL champions when they overwhelmed Khulna Tigers by 22 runs in the high-voltage final of the Akash-DTH Bangalbandhu-Bangladesh Premier League at the sold-out Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the capital’s Mirpur area yesterday.

Chasing a formidable 171-run target, Khulna Tigers fumbled in the very second ball of their innings when Royals’ tallest pacer Mohammad Irfan removed in-form opener Nazmul Hossain Shanto even before he could open the account. Pacer Abu Jayed Rahi then

pushed Khulan in a spot of bother when another opener Mehidy Hasan Miraj was caught by Shoaib Malik off Rahi as Khulna were stuttering at 11-2.

Shamsur Rahman, in association with Rilee Rossouw, managed to bail the team out of the precarious 11-2 and gradually initiated their assault on Royals’ bowlers to disband their combined attack.

Mohammad Nawaz finally halted a marauding Rossouw when Andre Russell moved to his right and gobbled it up at long-on. The South African batsman was dropped on 18 at cover by Abu Jayed Rahi.    

Rossouw, who was the highest scorer in the last BPL, stroked 37 and put together an invaluable 74 for the third wicket-stand with Shamsur Rahman, who cracked Nawaz for boundary to raise a crucial fifty from 38 balls.

But Karmul Islam Rabbi put brakes on Khulna’s innings with his double strikes as he got rid of Shamsur Rahman and Najibullah Zadran in the same over.

Rahman clouted four boundaries and two sixes in his 43-ball 52 while Zadran fell for a run-a-ball four.

Royals’ bowlers kept Mushfiqur and Frylinck on a tight leash as Russell conceded only five runs in his second over after identical five from Rabbi’s two-wicket over. Mohammad Irfan then leaked 11 runs in the 17th over. By then, Russell and Irfan made them danger-free as West Indies all-rounder outwitted Mushfiqur Rahim while Irfan bounced out Robbie Frylinck on his wicket-maiden over.

Mushfiq finally fell for 21, just four runs short of his teammate Rossouw’s BPL highest of 495.

Khulna needed 30 runs from penultimate over but managed only eight runs, posting 149-8 as Rajshahi supporters erupted across the stadium.

 Earlier, Rajshahi Royals compiled a challenging 170 for four, largely thanks to Mohammad Nawaz (41 off 20) and Andre Russell (27 off 16).

Tigers captain Mushfiqur Rahim opted to field for yet another time after unsurprisingly winning the flip of the high-octane fixture on Mirpur’s newly-improved pitch. Mushfiq kept his faith in his bowling arsenal that provided them much-needed supports at every time on the way to their final berth, especially in the crucial victory at qualifier-1 that ensured their final at the first attempt.

Khulna’s Pakistani fast bowler Mohamamd Amir gave the first breakthrough to the Tigers tents when he cleared up Afif Hossain in the third delivery of his second over. On-song Afif went for the hook to get a short ball that swirled away being top edge, while Mehidy Hasan Miraj ran to his right and palmed it at backward square leg. Afif scored eight-ball 10.

Together with wicketkeeper-batsman Irfan Sukkur, Liton Kumar Das brought the team out of danger and added a gritty 49 for the second-wicket stand. Pacer Shohidul Islam managed to unsettle the partnership when Liton wanted to pull straight to deep square leg but it carried nicely to the man on the boundary, Shanto comfortably palming the ball.

Irfan then attempted to build up another partnership with Shoaib Malik but Robbie Frylinck did not allow him to settle at the wicket as globe-trotting Pakistani all-rounder raised a skier to drive Frylinck to cover, where Shanto took a sharp catch at extra-cover. Shoaib Malik was out for nine.

Irfan Sukkur completed his back-to-back half-century with a single when he flicked Shohidul to backward square leg to get to his second fifty that injected momentum into the Royals. Mohammad Amir leveled the most wickets tally with Mustafizur Rahman when he was accountable for Sukkur, whose flick went straight to the fielder Shafiul Islam at fine leg.

Irfan Sukkur smoked 52 off 35, laced with half-a-dozen boundary along with two big shots.   

Royals captain Andre Russell came to the crease to join Mohammad Nawaz and mounted his devastation on Shafiul Islam after two successive dot balls of Amir’s third over. He had got a reprieve on seven when Shanto dropped Andre Russell’s catch at the extra cover boundary.

The duo became ruthless on Robbie Frylinck when he came to bowl his full complement and leaked 21 runs that gave a big boost to Royals’ total. Mohammad Nawaz smashed him for two sixes and as many fours to place the team at 137 for four after the 18th over.

They then scored 18 runs from Amir’s last over, where Russell hit him for six and Nawaz scored two boundaries. They added another 15 runs from Shafiul Islam’s penultimate over that helped them post a strong total on the board.

Mohammad Nawaz bashed 20-ball 41, hitting two sixes and half-a-dozen boundary. Andre Russell, on the other hand, remained unbeaten on 27 off 16 with two sixes.

Andre Russell was adjudged both player of the match and player of the tournament for his all-round performance and for leading the team from the front to win the title. Road Transport and Bridges Minister and Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader handed over the championship trophy and other awards to teams and players after the match. The Akash-DTH Bangalbandhu-Bangladesh Premier League ended with ear-splitting pyrotechnics display at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.





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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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