Rajshahi Royals have finally gone back to their winning ways as they clinched a 30-run victory over Rangpur Rangers in the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019-20 at Sylhet.
In the previous game between the sides, Rangpur clinched the victory at Dhaka but Rajshahi managed to claim revenge with a dominating win 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.
Batting first, with a blistering start and a late flourish, Rajshahi managed to score 179-4 in their quota of 20 overs with Ravi Bopara scoring a fifty.
Chasing a big total of 180, Rangpur were off to a slow start as they could manage to score only 7 runs in the first three overs and lost their skipper Shane Watson, who continues to flop in the tournament, to Mohammad Nawaz for 2.
Naim Sheikh and Cameron Delport's brief storm helped Rangpur reach 47 in the powerplay, but both of them returned in the span of 10 deliveries to see their good start thwarted. From then on, Tom Abell and Fazle Mahmud put together a steady partnership to keep the asking rate within reach but the 64-run stand was broken when Kamrul Islam Rabbi struck to send Tom Abell back for 29 from 24 deliveries. Fazle also returned soon for 34 as Nawaz picked up his second scalp of the game.
Rangpur needed 58 runs from the last four overs and it looked possible with Mohammad Nabi at the crease. But the 17th over from Mohammad Irfan saw only three runs taken and Nabi's dismissal in the next over diminished all of Rangpur's hopes.
Al-Amin Jr sparked some optimism in Rangpur minds with 16 from the 18th over, but he returned in the 19th to cleanse that up too. Rangpur managed to score 149-7, losing the match by 30 runs.
This was Rajshahi's sixth win of the tournament, which takes them to the top of the points table with 12 points whereas this was Rangpur's sixth defeat of the tournament, dwindling their chances of reaching the playoffs as they have managed to notch up only six points thus far.
Earlier, 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.