Rajshahi Royals have ensured a place in the top two of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019-20 as they beat Chattogram Challengers by 8 wickets.
This win ensures that Rajshahi are currently on top of the BPL points table and will finish in either first or second and get a couple of opportunities to reach the final. On the other hand, this defeat means that Chattogram will finish on third, which means that they will have to win two games in the playoffs to reach the finals.
Winning the toss, Rajshahi skipper Andre Russell elected to field first. Taijul Islam came into the side for Rajshahi whereas Chattogram brought in Liam Plunkett and Rayad Emrit replacing Lendl Simmons and Kesrick Williams.
Batting first, Chattogram were off to a slow start and despite a late flourish, managed to score only 155-5.
Chasing 156, Rajshahi were off to a flyer as Liton Das and Afif Hossain brought up the team's 50 within the fifth over. They picked up 60 off the powerplay and continued on their merry way as Liton brought up his fifty off just 29 deliveries.
The opening stand of 88 runs finally broke when Afif was caught at deep mid-wicket for 32 off Nasum Ahmed as Afif tried to clear the boundary but could only find Chadwick Walton at the boundary.
But Liton continued and was joined by Shoaib Malik as these two brought up their fifty partnership off just 31 deliveries before Liton was trapped LBW by Ziaur Rahman on 75. Liton reviewed, but replays showed that he was plumb in front and had to back.
Malik and Russell ensured that no more wickets were lost as Rajshahi reached their target of 156 with 14 balls in hand. Shoaib Malik was unbeaten on 43 with Liton top-scoring with 75.
Earlier, Chattogram were off to a slow start as Chris Gayle and Junaid Siddique accumulated only 38 runs in the powerplay before Junaid was sent back for 23 by Shoaib Malik. Afif Hossain struck in the 10th over to send back Gayle for 23 as the Caribbean batsman skewed a shot and Russell took an easy catch.
Imrul Kayes was the next to go as Taijul struck in the next over to send Kayes back for 19 before Abu Jayed Rahi got rid of Chadwick Walton in the 15th over, rattling Walton's stumps for 4.
From there on, skipper Mahmudullah Riyad and Nurul Hasan Sohan put up a 38-run stand off 25 deliveries as Sohan was the aggressive one, scoring 30 from 16 deliveries before getting out to Mohammad Irfan.
Mahmudullah and Ziaur Rahman picked up 17 from the last over of Farhad Reza as Chattogram ended on 155-5 as Mahmudullah was unbeaten on 48.
Malik, Afif, Taijul, Abu Jayed and Irfan picked up a wicket each for Rajshahi.