Khulna Titans produced another commanding all-round performance, this time against Rajshahi Kings in their BPL 2017 match as they sealed a massive 68-run win at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Cricket Stadium Monday.
With the sixth win of the tournament from nine games, Khulna are now sitting pretty at the top of the points table with 13 points, and moved closer to guaranteeing a top-four finish before the elimination stage of the money-spinning tournament.
Chasing a massive 214 for victory, Rajshahi were restricted to 145 for the loss of all wickets in 19 overs.
Rajshahi lost both their openers within 2.5 overs as paceman Shafiul Islam took both the wickets. No 3 batsman Rony Talukdar and youngster Zakir Hasan then formed a 55-run stand for the third wicket.
However, in-form pacer Abu Jayed soon struck, posting back-to-back wickets of Rony and Zakir in the 11th over. And after the fall of these two wickets, the remaining Rajshahi batsmen failed to score big and maintain the asking rate.
Shafiul was the best bowler for Khulna as he picked up five wickets conceding 26 runs in his quota of four overs. Jayed took two wickets gave away 48 runs in four overs.
Earlier, Rajshahi skipper Darren Sammy elected to field. Khulna made two changes to their playing XI as South Africa’s Kyle Abbott and Shafiul replaced Pakistan’s Junaid Khan and all-rounder Tanvir Islam. Rajshahi also made two changes as Rony and the West Indies’ Kesrick Williams returned in place of West Indian Dwayne Smith and all-rounder Hossain Ali.
Khulna lost their first wicket in the fourth over as opener Rilee Rossouw was caught short of the crease from a direct throw from Zakir.
The other opener Nazmul Hossain Shanto then added 45 with youngster Afif Hossain for the second wicket. Shanto got out after scoring 49 off 31 balls with five fours and a couple of sixes.
Khulna were soon under further trouble as they lost skipper Mahmudullah when Rajshahi all-rounder James Franklin uprooted his off stump in the fifth ball of the ninth over.
But No 5 batsman Nicholas Pooran and Afif handled the situation extremely well, stitching together a 88-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Pooran was aggressive from the word go as the wicketkeeper-batsman scored 57 off just 26 balls with half a dozen boundaries and three sixers.
A late blitz in the end from West Indian big-hitter Carlos Braithwaite helped Khulna finish their innings on 213 for the loss of five wickets after their stipulated 20 overs.
This is the highest team total in this year’s competition so far, and also the second highest in BPL history. The highest BPL of 217 was scored by Dhaka Galdiators four years ago.
Afif remained unbeaten at the other end on 54 off 38 balls with five sixes.
Rajshahi bowlers were disappointing as Franklin took three wickets conceding 50 runs. Paceman Mustafizur Rahman leaked 48 runs without success but he did miss out on a tough caught and bowled chance, that of Brathwaite.
145 in 19 overs (Rony 36, Shafiul 5/26) lost to Khulna Titans
213/5 (Pooran 57, Franklin 3/50) by 68 runs