A brilliant spell of left arm spin bowling from England all-rounder Samit Patel backed up by a calm innings in a tense run chase from star batsman Sabbir Rahman took the Rajshahi Kings to the finals of the tournament after beating the Khulna Titans by 7 wickets at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today in the qualifying final of the BPL 2016.
Batting first after winning the toss, the Titans got off to a nightmarish start as 3 wickets fell with the score at just 17 in the 4th over. Young West Indian wicket-keeper Nicholas Pooran tried to counter-attack and hit a breezy 22 off just 10 deliveries with 2 fours and 2 sixes before holing out to long-off in the 7th over with the score at 54.
The innings never got back on track from then with Samit Patel picking up 3 key wickets in the middle overs, including those of captain Mahmudullah and Kevon Cooper, to leave the Titans tottering at 87 for 7. A late flourish from Ariful Haque took them to a well below par score of 125 for 9 at the end of their 20 overs.
The Kings innings too began with a stutter as Mominul Haque lost his wicket in just the 2nd over to Kevon Cooper with the score at 5. Afif Hossain and Nurul Hasan then steadied the ship a little and took the score to 34 before Hasan was dismissed for 14.
Sabbir Rahman joined hands with Hossain to take the score to 67 when Hossain was out LBW to captain Mahmudullah trying to go for a pull. Coming in at no.5, experienced New Zealand all-rounder James Franklin then ensured there were no further hiccups as he combined with Sabbir to string together an unbeaten 62 run partnership to seal the deal for the Kings.
This win took the Rajshahi Kings to the finals of the BPL where they will face the Dhaka Dynamites on Friday. Samit Patel, for his match changing spell of spin bowling, was named the man of the match.
Brief Scores: Khulna Titans - 125/9 (Ariful Haque 32, Nicholas Pooran 22, Samit Patel 3 for 19, Darren Sammy 1 for 8); Rajshahi Kings - 129/3 (Sabbir Rahman 43, James Franklin 30, Mahmudullah 1 for 10, Mosharraf Hossain 1 for 26)
Result: Rajshahi Kings won by 7 wickets.