Rangpur row to super league
Khulna also joined the top four in the knockout stage, which was finalised after yesterday’s match played at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the capital.
The other two teams are Dhaka Dynamites and Comilla Victorians, who will fight for the ultimate glory of BPL 2017 on December 12.
Khulna skipper Mahmudullah Riyad won the toss and sent Mashrafe Mortaza’s men to bat first.
Keeper-batsman Mohammad Mithun struck a blazing half century while opener Chris Gayle provided 38 runs at open to help Rangpur to post a challenging 147 for six in their 20 overs.
Rangpur lost a bit of momentum in the halfway of their innings with quick dismissals of Ravi Bopara, Chamara Kapugedara and Nahidul Islam after big occasion player Gayle rallied the Titans with a quickfire 38 from 27 deliveries.
Rangpur were off to a shaky start as big hitter Ziaur Rahman (8) fell early when the score was 11.
Brendon McCullam continued his BPL misery when he was removed by Shafiul in the sixth over for 15. Credit should be given to Ariful Islam, who claimed the catch spectacularly at mid-on.
Rangpur were 72 for three at the halfway mark and added 75 in the next 60 deliveries, boosted by a late flurry by Mithun who took 20 runs from last six balls, including three towering sixes. He finished Rangpur’s innings with a flourish as he reached his 50 runs with a six in the last ball.
Gayle started with an attacking mood. He set the Mirpur Stadium on fire with some lusty blows all over the park but Khulna’s surprise package, leg spinner Mohammad Irfan brought an end to the promising knock. He hit four boundaries and two massive sixes in his 27-ball entertainment. He charged too many and failed once.
Player of the match Mithun, who was dropped by Irfan off Jofra Archer in the 19th over, shared 42 runs off just 22 balls with captain Mashrafe (15) in the seventh wicket stand including 20 runs in the final over.
For Khulna, paceman Jofra Archer was the most successful bowler by grabbing two wickets and he conceded 28 runs in his four overs. Shafiul, Brathwaite, Abu Jayed and Irfan took one wicket apiece.
Khulna started with a positive note and collected 60 runs within 8 overs with no loss. But the last ball of the eighth over made the start of Khulna’s misery losing Nazmul Hossain Shanto (20).
Opener Michael Klinger (44) kept Khulna’s chase on move but he was caught by Mashrafe off a delivery by Bopara and made the scoreboard 83 for 3 from 12 overs.
Since then, the show belonged to Rangpur, who sent three more Khulna batters in pavilion as Khulna fell into deep trouble collecting 97 in the scoreboard losing six crucial wickets.
Archer’s (19) two sixes in the 18th over brought some hopes in Khulna dug-out but he fell into in a mixed-up call between the wickets and was run out at the keeper’s end.
Khulna fought well but the one-sided contest remained mostly for Rangpur as Khulna ended their chase at 128 for 8 after 20 overs.
Bopara was the most economical bowler for Rangpur claiming two wickets conceding only 4 runs from his two overs.
Sohag Gazi, Nazmul Islam, Nahidul and Isuru Udana shared one wicket apiece for Rangpur.
Rangpur will face Dhaka Dynamites on December 6 in their last match of the group stage before the play-offs.