Khulna Titans defeated Rajshahi Kings by three runs in a Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 2016-17 season thriller in Mirpur’s Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Rajshahi were chasing a modest target of 134 and at one stage, cruising to victory. But late wickets halted them as they were eventually bowled out for 130 in 20 overs.
In the last two overs, Rajshahi required 13 runs with all-rounders Abul Hasan Raju and Farhad Reza at the crease. Mehedi Hasan Miraz was still at the dug out and at that moment, it appeared Rajshahi were slight favourites to win the game.
But Junaid Khan bowled a brilliant over, conceding just six runs and accounting for the wicket of Farhad.
And in the final over, Khulna skipper Mahmudullah took the ball and clinched the three remaining wickets to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Miraz remained not out without facing a ball at the other end. Mahmudullah finished with bowling figures of 6/3 from two eventful overs.
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Mahmudullah dismisses the Kings' Mohammad Sami DHAKA TRIBUNE
Rajshahi were up against a spirited Junaid. The Pakistan paceman struck thrice in his first spell and kept Rajshahi's chase in check. He took the key wickets of opening batsman Nurul Hasan, No 3 Sabbir Rahman and Umar Akmal.
It could have been four for Junaid if Mominul Haque was caught at first slip by Alok Kapali. Mominul was dropped again by Ariful Haque on 24.
The diminutive left-hander capitalised on the dropped chances and played a good innings of 64 from 57 deliveries, composed with half a dozen boundaries.
Mominul built a 52-run partnership with captain Darren Sammy for the fifth wicket. Sammy scored a quick-fire 23-ball 31, featuring three sixes.
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The Kings' Mominul Haque sweeps during his 57-ball 64 DHAKA TRIBUNE
Mahmudullah was adjudged player of the match for his all-round performance.
Earlier, Mahmudullah had won the toss and elected to bat first.
Khulna made a slow start against some controlled bowling by Rajshahi. West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran was the first wicket to fall for Khulna as the left-hander was cleaned up while trying to sweep Rajshahi spinner Miraz in the fourth over.
One-drop batsman Riki Wessels played a valuable knock of 32 off 22 deliveries with the help of four boundaries and a six. But Khulna were pegged back in the middle period of the game as opener Abdul Mazid and Wessels were both dismissed with 65 runs on the scoreboard.
Shuvagata Hom was also run out, courtesy a mix-up with Mahmudullah in the 12th over. Mahmudullah then formed a good partnership of 39 runs with the veteran Kapali; Khulna crossing the 100-run mark.
But after Mahmudullah’s departure for 32, Khulna lost wickets at regular intervals and were restricted to 133 for the loss of eight wickets.
Raju was the chief destroyer for Rajshahi, picking up five wickets conceding 28 runs.
Khulna Titans 133/8
(Mahmudullah 32, Wessels 32, Abul 5/28) beat Rajshahi Kings 130
(Mominul 64, Junaid 4/23, Mahmudullah 3/6) by three runs
Khulna Titans captain Mahmudullah
I did not want to take pressure upon myself in the last over but to be honest, I was under some pressure before bowling the last delivery. I was thinking if I can bowl on a good spot and if luck favours us, then we can win the game as it was an easy task for Rajshahi to take seven runs from six balls. Obviously, it feels good to win this type of match. I would say the game turned around in three different phases. Firstly, the three wickets from Junaid Khan. Then, Mohammad Sami’s dismissal by Shafiul Islam. And finally the wicket of Mominul Haque was very crucial behind the win. Of course its very encouraging as we might not have the big names in our team but still we have some very good players who are useful in this format. If we can play according to our potential, I am sure we can go far and beat any team.
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The Kings' Abul Hasan Raju starred with the leather, picking up five wickets DHAKA TRIBUNE
Rajshahi Kings all-rounder Abul Hasan Raju
Our plan was to stay till the end and if I would have taken the single, may be things would have been different. As I said, you never know what will happen in T20s. If you noticed, a few of our batsmen have gifted their wickets away so if we had not have lost those wickets, it would have been an easy win for us. As we all know, T20 cricket is a batsman’s game as the bowlers have very little to show. But when I looked at the pitch, it seemed like there was something for the bowlers. I tried to use the variation. May be for that I got the success [Wednesday].