A blistering start, some slow middle overs and a scorching finish took Rajshahi Royals to 179-4 in their match against Rangpur Rangers in the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019-20 at Sylhet.
In the very first match of the Sylhet stage, Rangpur skipper Shane Watson won the toss and invited Rajshahi to bat first. Shoaib Malik was the one to flip the coin for Rajshahi as their regular captain, Andre Russell, was out with an injury.
Afif Hossain and Liton Das took Rajshahi off to a flying start as they brought up their fifty partnership in no time. Their stand was broken for 51 when Mustafizur Rahman struck to sent Liton back for 19. After his partner was gone, Afif did not last long either as he was stumped off Mohammad Nabi for 32, reducing Rajshahi to 53-2.
After the fall of the openers, Rajshahi's run-rate stagnated and runs became scarce. Irfan Shukkur and skipper Malik put up a 31-run stand, but it came off 38 deliveries which dismissed their brilliant start.
Shukkur was gone in the 11th over for 20 off 20 deliveries when he was caught by Taskin off Arafat Sunny before Malik put up a 48-run stand with Ravi Bopara. Malik was the next to go for 37 as Mustafiz took his second wicket of the game to reduce Rajshahi to 132-4.
But a blistering finish from Bopara and Mohammad Nawaz took Rajshahi to 179-4, with the last over from Mustafiz costing 22 as the partnership stayed unbroken on 47 off 20 deliveries. Bopara brought up his fifty off 29 deliveries on the last delivery of the innings with Nawaz being unbeaten on 15 off 9.
Mustafiz ended with the figures of two for 41 whereas Arafat Sunny and Nabi picked up a wicket each.