Rajshahi Royals captain Andre Russell guided his team to the final of the Bangladesh Premier League 2019-20 with an unbeaten knock of 54 that was studded with 7 sixes and 2 fours. Russell's powerhouse innings helped the Royals overcome the challenge from the Chattogram Challengers by 2 wickets.
Russell came out to bat when his team's score was 80-4 in pursuit of Chattogram's 165-run target. Wicketkeeper-batsman Irfan Sukkur (45) played a good knock at number 3 to lend balance to the Royals' innings, as the other top order batsmen could not contribute much.
Once Russell got his eye in, he whacked the opposition fast bowlers all around the park to turn the game in Rajshahi's favor.
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He had an unbeaten 37-run partnership for the ninth wicket with Abu Jayed (5*), where Jayed faced just two deliveries. Russell was totally dominant while he was at the crease, and didn't leave any stone unturned to take his team over the line.
Rubel Hossain (2/32), meanwhile, was the most successful bowler for the Challengers.
Earlier in the evening, the Royals had won the toss and elected to field first. Chris Gayle (60) played the best knock of his BPL 2019-20 campaign as he got Chattogram off to a flier with 6 fours and 5 sixes. He lost his wicket to Afif Hossain (1/20), but the damage was done by then.
Skipper Mahmudullah (33) and Asela Gunaratne (31*) guided Chattogram to a respectable score of 164/9 in 20 overs.
From the Royals, Mohammad Irfan (2/16) impressed the most, and he got good support from Mohammad Nawaz (2/13). The two bowlers took 4 wickets while giving away only 29 runs in their 8 overs.
With this win, Rajshahi Royals have now progressed to the finale where they will lock horns with Khulna Tigers. The Tigers had earlier defeated the Royals in Qualifier 1; Russell and Co would be keen to avenge that loss and take the title home.Published 15 Jan 2020, 22:59 IST