Rajshahi Kings captain Darren Sammy showcased a gem of an innings to lead his side to the second Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 2016-17 season qualifier diminishing the performance of his opposite number Tamim Iqbal of Chittagong Vikings. Sammy scored a 23-ball fifty in the Eliminator in Mirpur's Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Tuesday to guide his side to a three-wicket win with nine balls to spare.
Chasing Chittagong's 142/8, Rajshahi faced an immediate setback when the in-form Mominul Haque threw his wicket away playing a loose shot against the bowling of Subashish Roy. From there, Rajshahi lost wickets at regular intervals. Afif Rahman, Sabbir Rahman and Samit Patel were dismissed after some disappointing shows.
Nurul Hasan played well for his 34 but Chittagong were in cruise control after a superb tag-team effort from Shoaib Malik and Jahurul Islam sent the opening batsman back before James Franklin was cleaned up in the same Saqlain Sajib over. Their woes worsened when Mehedi Hasan Miraz was run out after a misunderstanding with Sammy.
Thereafter, it was an exclusive Sammy show. He took the game away from Chittagong adding 49 unbroken runs alongside Farhad Reza for the eighth-wicket partnership. Sammy hit three consecutive boundaries in Subashish's 16th over to make the equation a run-a-ball. The two-time World T20 winning captain stayed till the end to take Rajshahi home scoring 55 off 27 balls including two huge sixes. Farhad, who made 19 off 11 balls, scored the winning runs.
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Rajshahi captain Darren Sammy hoicks one on way to his unbeaten 55 DHAKA TRIBUNE
Saqlain and Subashish took two wickets each for Chittagong as they ended their BPL campaign this year in the last four.
Earlier, riding on yet another fifty from Tamim, Chittagong posted a modest total of 142 in their stipulated 20 overs. Tamim led from the front scoring 51 off 46 balls, featuring half a dozen fours.
Chris Gayle scored 44 off 30 balls hitting five huge sixes to give his captain solid support after another opener Dwayne Smith went for a duck. The second wicket duo added 74 runs for the to lay a solid foundation for the port-city outfit.
However, the Rajshahi bowlers came back strongly in the latter part of the innings to restrict Chittagong to a manageable total. Apart from Tamim and Gayle, no other Chittagong batsman scored significantly. Malik scored 14 while Anamul Haque and Jahurul made 11 each.
Kesrick Williams was the pick of the bowlers taking four wickets conceding 11 runs in his four overs while Farhad took two wickets.
Sammy was adjudged player of the match.
Rajshahi Kings 143/7 in 18.3 overs
(Sammy 55*, Nurul 34, Saqlain 2/24) beat Chittagong Vikings 142/8
(Tamim 51, Williams 4/11, Farhad 2/26) by three wickets
WHAT THEY SAID
Chittagong Vikings captain Tamim Iqbal
The way we came back in this tournament, I am very proud of my players. We scored 20 runs short and committed a few mistakes while bowling. At the end of the day, I am still proud of the boys as I think we played some really good cricket. Personally, I am happy at the way we played throughout the tournament. Four hundred and eighty runs (476) is amazing. But at the end of the day, if I cannot win for the team it doesn’t have any value. I think our local players underperformed. If they had performed well then we could have finished in a better position. I am sure they tried but unfortunately, it didn’t work out.
Rajshahi Kings skipper Darren Sammy
We were always confident from the start of the tournament. We came here to win the tournament. We are a new team but you look at the group stage matches, whenever we were out there everybody saw that this team was gelling together. We perform like a family whether we look good or not. Now we have fixed up our goals to reach the finals but we need to take one game at a time. I wasn’t too sad in the dressing room when we finished fourth because every time we played a team above us, we defeated them. So hopefully it will work well in the next match as well.