Russell played a gem of an innings and pulled off a stunning win to prove for the umpteenth time as to why he is considered one of the most dangerous hitters of a cricket ball, especially in the T20 format
Rajshahi Royals rode on the back of a whirlwind innings from Andre Russell to beat Chattogram Challengers by two wickets in a nail-biter and qualify for the grand finale in the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Wednesday.
Russell played a gem of an innings and pulled off a stunning win to prove for the umpteenth time as to why he is considered one of the most dangerous hitters of a cricket ball, especially in the T20 format.
The Royals needed 82 runs off 40 deliveries when Russell came to the crease.
The West Indies all-rounder held his nerve, and how, to score an unbeaten 54 off 22 balls, including two fours and as many as seven sixes as the Royals reached the shore with four balls to spare.
Irfan Sukkur chipped in with 45 off 42 deliveries to set up a final date with Khulna Tigers at the same venue Friday.
Unsurprisingly, skipper Russell was adjudged man of the match for his match-winning knock.
Earlier, Rajshahi won the toss and elected to field first.
Ziaur Rahman got out early, in the last ball of the third over, scoring just six off a dozen balls.
Chris Gayle though kept going strong at the other end and provided the Challengers a flying start as the explosive Windies batsman scored 60 off just 24 deliveries before being cleaned up by Afif Hossain in the 10th over.
Gayle smashed half a dozen fours and five sixes in his entertaining knock.
The in-form Imrul Kayes made just five while captain Mahmudullah scored a quickfire 18-ball 33 before being bowled by Mohammad Nawaz in the 11th over.
Gayle and Mahmudullah’s departure in successive overs halted Chattogram’s momentum a bit and they further lost their way owing to the fall of regular overs in the middle overs.
Asela Gunaratne made 31 off 25 balls in the late stages to take the Challengers past the 160-mark in their stipulated 20 overs for the loss of nine wickets.
Mohammad Irfan and Nawaz took two wickets each for Rajshahi.
QUALIFIER 2, CCvRR
CHATTOGRAM CHALLENGERS INNINGS R B
Ziaur b Irfan 6 12
Gayle b Afif 60 24
Kayes c Nawaz b Russell 5 7
Mahmudullah b Nawaz 33 18
Walton c Liton b Kapali 5 11
Nurul lbw b Nawaz 0 2
Gunaratne b Irfan 31 25
Emrit run out (Afif/Sukkur) 3 8
Rubel not out 8 10
Nasum run out (Sukkur) 0 2
Rana not out 0 1
Extras (b 4, lb 7, w 2) 13
Total (20 Overs) 164/9
Fall Of Wickets
1-22 (Ziaur), 2-45 (Kayes), 3-97 (Gayle), 4-113 (Mahmudullah), 5-115 (Nurul), 6-124 (Walton), 7-139 (Emrit), 8-159 (Gunaratne), 9-164 (Nasum)
Irfan 4-1-16-2, Jayed 1-0-16-0, Malik 1-0-18-0, Rabbi 2-0-16-0, Russell 4-0-35-1, Nawaz 4-1-13-2, Afif 1-0-20-1, Kapali 3-0-19-1
RAJSHAHI ROYALS INNINGS R B
Liton run out (Rana) 6 6
Afif c Gunaratne b Rubel 2 4
Sukkur c Walton b Rana 45 42
Kapali c Emrit b Mahmudullah 9 11
Malik c Mahmudullah b Ziaur 14 22
Russell not out 54 22
Nawaz c Kayes b Emrit 14 5
Farhad c Walton b Emrit 6 3
Rabbi c Emrit b Rubel 0 1
Jayed not out 5 2
Extras (nb 2, w 8) 10
Total (19.2 Overs) 165/8
Fall Of Wickets
1-8 (Afif), 2-14 (Liton), 3-34 (Kapali), 4-80 (Malik), 5-83 (Sukkur), 6-116 (Nawaz), 7-122 (Farhad), 8-128 (Rabbi)
Rana 4-0-47-1, Rubel 4-0-32-2, Emrit 4-0-41-2, Nasum 2-0-11-0, Mahmudullah 1-0-10-1, Ziaur 4-0-16-1, Gunaratne 0.2-0-8-0
Rajshahi Royals won by two wickets
MoM: Andre Russell (RR)