A career which began more than 20 years ago does not show any signs of stopping anytime soon. Even though he has fallen out of favour with the Pakistan selectors, Shahid Afridi continues to show his utility in the shortest format. The 36-year old kick started his 2016 Bangladesh Premier League campaign with a match-turning performance against Chittagong Vikings at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
The all-rounder conceded just 12 runs from his full quota of four overs to help Rangpur Riders cruise to a nine-wicket victory. On a surface which proved to be quite conducive for spin, Afridi controlled the middle overs with his stump to stump line and restricted the Tamim Iqbal-led Vikings to 124.
Afghanistan’s belligerent opener Mohammad Shahzad made a mockery of the meager target with a 52-ball 80 which included 11 fours as well as 3 sixes. The wicket-keeper batsman was eventually named Player of the Match for his unbeaten knock. The Riders positioned themselves at the top of the points table by virtue of their massive net run rate. They will return to the same venue tomorrow to take on Khulna Titans who pulled off a miraculous win earlier in the day.
Brief Scores: Chittagong Vikings – 124 (Malik 30, Anamul Haque 25, Gazi 2/18, Afridi 1/12); Rangpur Riders – 125/1 (Mohammad Shahzad 80*, Sarkar 23, Tymal Mills 1/30)
Result: Rangpur Riders won by nine wickets with 30 balls remaining.
Mahmudullah inspires Khulna to sensational victory
In a game full of twists and turns, Khulna Titans clung on to register a thrilling three-run victory over the Rajshahi Kings at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. Skipper Mahmudullah was at the forefront of the miraculous heist with an all round performance.
He walked into the middle following a cluster of wickets and decided to counter-attack instead of playing out the remaining overs. The 30-year old smashed 32 from 21 balls on a tricky surface to propel his side to a competitive total. Rajshahi’s chase began in a rather tumultuous manner after discarded Pakistani seamer Junaid Khan left their top-order in tatters with a threatening spell.
But, opener Mominul Haque held firm and found a suitable ally in former West Indies skipper Darren Sammy. The duo resurrected their fortunes by complementing each other as Khulna began to face the heat. However, a flurry of wickets ensured that seven runs were needed from the final over. Having bowled out all of his main bowlers, Mahmudullah brought himself on to try and lead from the front.
The off-spinner varied his length smartly in an attempt to keep the batsmen guessing. With only four runs required from as many balls, he picked up wickets off successive deliveries which escalated the pressure level. When Nazmul Islam danced down the track preemptively, Mahmudullah tossed it up wide to offer a comfortable stumping opportunity to Nicholas Pooran. Needless to say, the all-rounder took home the ‘Player of the Match’ award.
Brief Scores: Khulna Titans – 133/8 (Mahmudullah 32, Riki Wessels 32, Abul Hasan 5/28) ; Rajshahi Kings – 130 (Mominul Haque 64, Sammy 31, Junaid Khan 4/23, Mahmudullah 3/6)
Result: Khulna Titans won by three runs.