Bangladesh’s Mohammad Mithun scored a 41-ball 49 to help Rangpur Riders clinch an easy 7 wicket victory over the Khulna Titans – their second victory over the latter in this edition of the BPL - during their group stage encounter at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong.
With four more runs required, the winning runs came off the outside edge of Liam Dawson’s bat off the last ball of the penultimate over, leaving Mithun one short of a well-deserved half-century.
Combining with Afghan-international Mohammad Shahzad, he had forged a decisive 74 run partnership for the 2nd wicket, after the early dismissal of Soumya Sarkar. Shahzad played an unusual innings by his standards, managing to score only a close to a run-a-ball 37, but more importantly tried to stick around in order to see his team through to victory.
Eventually, he was dismissed in the 14th over while attempting to play a lofted stroke over the long-on fence off Mahmudullah, only managing to hit into the hands of Alok Kapali. A quick 35 run partnership followed, between Mithun and Shahid Afridi, the latter contributing 26 from 20 balls to complete his all-round contribution in the win.
Earlier, Shahid Afridi continued his rich bowling form in the tournament, claiming figures of 2/30 to help Riders restrict the Titans to a lowly 129/7 in their 20 overs. He also went past the milestone of 250 T20 wickets in the process.
However, the pick of the bowlers were left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny and fast bowler Rubel Hossain, both of whom picked two wickets each for very few runs. Among the Titans’ batsmen, Taibur Rahman who top scored with 32 runs was the only pillar of resistance.
Brief Scores: Khulna Titans – 125/7 (Taibur Rahman 32 (37), Riki Wessels 27 (33), Ariful Haque 22 (13); Arafat Sunny 2/16 (4), Rubel Hossain 2/19 (4), Shahid Afridi 2/30 (4);
Rangpur Riders – 129/3 (19) (Mohammad Mithun 49* (41), Mohammad Shahzad 37 (38), Shahid Afridi 26 (20); Mahmudullah 1/14 (3), Junaid Khan 1/23 (4);
Result: Rangpur Riders won by 7 wickets. Shahid Afridi’s all-round contributions won him the ‘Player of the Match’ award.
Vikings ease past Bulls
In the second of the double-header, Tamil Iqbal’s Chittagong Vikings avenged their earlier loss at the hands of Mushfiqur Rahim-led Barisal Bulls with a huge victory by 78 runs. Winning the toss and opting to bat first, Vikings posted an imposing 185 on the board.
Their innings was built around fifties from the foreign stars Dwayne Smith and Shoaib Malik, who shared a 47 run partnership for the 3rd wicket. Malik, in particular, was in the zone, racing past his 50 with three back to back boundaries including a six, in the last over bowled by Rayad Emrit, before his dismissal off the last ball of the innings.
In reply, the Barisal Bulls fell like a pack of cards - only three of their batsmen managed to enter double figures. At one point, they were four down for just 12 runs in the fourth over of the innings.
But contributions from captain Mushfiqur Rahim (19), Taijul Islam (12) and a bold innings from debutant Enamul Haque (42*) gave the score some respectability. For the Vikings, Mohammad Nabi made a telling contribution for the second consecutive day – this time with the ball. He plucked out three top-order wickets, including both the openers.
However, Shoaib Malik followed the footsteps of his former teammate Afridi, to be adjudged the ‘Player of the Match’ for his entertaining innings and also for picking the key wicket of Thisara Perera.
Brief Scores: Chittagong Vikings – 185/5 (Dwayne Smith 69 (49), Shoaib Malik 63 (30); Kamrul Islam Rabbi 2/29 (4), Thisara Perera 2/37 (4);
Barisal Bulls – 107 (18.4) (Enamul Haque 42* (37), Mushfiqur Rahim 19 (14); Mohammad Nabi 3/16 (3), Subashis Roy 2/16 (4), Taskin Ahmed 2/20 (4)
Result: Chittagong Vikings won by 78 runs. Shoaib Malik was awarded the Player of the Match.