Rangpur Rangers sealed a comfortable victory by 47 runs against Rajshahi Royals in the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019.
Winning the toss, Rajshahi skipper Andre Russell decided to bowl first. Batting first, courtesy of Naim Sheikh's 55 and a late flourish from Jahurul Islam and Al-Amin jr Dhaka reached 182-6.
Chasing 183, Rajshahi were dealt with an early blow as Afif Hossain went back for 7 off Taskin Ahmed. Taskin, returning to the side, gifted Afif with a loose delivery outside off and he only managed to find Lewis Gregory at mid-off, who took a spectacular flying catch to send the batsman back.
Alok Kapali and Liton Das found it tough to score runs as they accumulated only 31 in the powerplay, especially Kapali was finding it very tough to get some quick runs. But Kapali managed to break the shackles in the eighth over when he hit Arafat Sunny for two consecutive sixes to bring up his fifty.
Liton was the next to go as he too got out on a wide delivery from Taskin for 15. Taskin gave away another freebie but what Liton did was to cut the ball straight to Al-Amin jr at point. The very next delivery, Taskin produced a beauty as his inswinger completely dazzled Shoaib Malik to clatter his stumps and reduce Rajshahi to 51-3.
Alok was the next to go in the 11th over for 31 off 28 deliveries as Naim Sheikh took a simple catch at the square leg off Lewis Gregory. Gregory picked up his second in the 15th over when he got rid of Ravi Bopara for 28.
But then came in Andre Russell and started to blast the bowlers straight away. On the other end, Nahidul Islam tried but Mohammad Nabi got him out as Nahidul skewed a ball high in the air in the 16th over and Jahurul took an easy catch to dismiss him for 19.
Andre Russell was gone in the 17th over hilariously for 17. Russell callously tried to take a single and Naim Sheikh's brilliant throw from the boundary hit the stumps and Russell was short by some distance.
The last overs were nothing but dull as Taskin picked up his fourth wicket and Rajshahi somehow stuttered their way to 135-8, sealing a 47-run win for Rangpur.
Taskin Ahmed picked up four wickets for 27 runs with Lewis Gregory picking up a couple. Mustafizur failed to pick up a wicket but was economical with giving away only 16 runs in his four overs.
Earlier, Rajshahi were dealt an early blow as their skipper Andre Russell was hurt and left the field in the middle of the over. Before that Naim had already hit a four and a six off the Rajshahi skipper's over and Rangpur were off to a flyer. They notched up 37 runs in the first three overs with Naim Sheikh being relentless and overshadowing Watson. Their opening stand between Naim and Watson broke on the fourth over as Afif Hossain struck to send Watson back for 7.
Naim, alongside Cameron Delport, went on as Rangpur accumulated 52 runs in the powerplay. These two continued to score freely for the next overs as Delport also got in his groove. Delport unleashed himself on Afif in the 11th over to hit two sixes and a four but it was Afif who had the last laugh as the 20-year old got rid of Delport on the last delivery of the over for 31 off 17 deliveries, Afif taking the catch off his own bowling.
Naim by the time brought up his fifty off 40 deliveries but was soon gone as he gave a simple return catch to Kamrul Islam Rabbi on 55. Lewis Gregory though was aggressive from the word go and was given a lifeline when Rabbi dropped a sitter at third man when Gregory was on 26.
But Rangpur were dealt a blow as they lost three wickets within seven balls and two runs. Mohammad Irfan struck twice in the 17th over to send back Lewis Gregory and Fazle Mahmud whereas Farhad Reza struck in the next over to send Nabi back for 16.
But a quickfire partnership between Al-Amin Jr. and Jahurul Islam of 34 from 15 deliveries ensured that Rangpur reached a commendable total of 182-6. Jahurul was unbeaten on 19 from 8 with Al-Amin being unbeaten on 15 from 10 deliveries. Rangpur scored 107 runs in their last 10 overs with 51 coming from the last five.
Afif and Irfan picked up a couple of wickets with Rabbi and Reza picking up one each.
This is Rangpur's third win of the tournament whereas this was Rajshahi's third and second consecutive defeat in the tournament.