The record eighth-wicket stand between Farhad Reza and Mehedi Hasan Miraz, followed by some collective bowling, guided Rajshahi Kings to their fourth consecutive win in the Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20's fourth edition in Mirpur's Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium Monday.
Despite a good start to the game, Rangpur Riders suffered a batting collapse as the in-form Rajshahi strolled to a comfortable 49-run win. Rangpur were bundled out for just 79 in 17.4 overs after Rajshahi posted a modest 128/7 batting first.
Following this win, fourth-placed Rajshahi now have 10 points in nine games while Rangpur, who tasted their third consecutive defeat, are a place behind at fifth with the same number of points.
Taking first guard, Rajshahi faced a horrible batting disaster and at one point were struggling on 43/7 inside 10 in the wake of some brilliant bowling by Rangpur.
Left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/31 from his four overs.
Pakistan superstar Shahid Afridi also bowled brilliantly, giving away only 10 runs from his quota of four overs, besides picking up the wickets of Sabbir Rahman (16) and Umar Akmal (one).
But Farhad and youngster Mehedi held the ship for the batting side, adding an unbeaten 85-run stand for the eighth wicket - the highest eighth-wicket stand in BPL history - as Rajshahi managed to post a fighting total of 128/7.
Farhad remained unbeaten on 44 off 32 balls with two fours and as many sixes while Miraz was not out on a 33-ball 41, featuring three fours and a six. This is Miraz's highest score in T20 cricket.
In reply, Rangpur struggled right from the word go and kept losing wickets at regular intervals with the in-form Mohammad Mithun’s 20 turning out to be the highest score while Afghanistan cricketer Mohammad Shahzad added 12. However, none of the other batsmen were able to reach double figures.
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Rajshahi's Nazmul Islam celebrates one of his three wickets with team mates DHAKA TRIBUNE
Left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam bowled superbly, bagging three wickets conceding only eight runs from his four overs while English all-rounder Samit Patel also picked up the same number of scalps. Player of the match Miraz also took two wickets for the bowling side.
During the game, there was intense fight between Sabbir and Shahzad that attracted all the attention when Rangpur came to chase their target. Shahzad poked Sabbir with his bat while heading towards the dressing room after being dismissed. Replays showed that there was definite contact, following which Sabbir crouched down for a few minutes as the rest of the team celebrated Shahzad’s wicket.
Sabbir was running past Shahzad when the bat was extended. The Rajshahi players walked towards the Rangpur dressing-room while Shahzad made his way off the field. After a while, he briefly turned around before going back to the dressing-room.
Till the filing of this report, there was no official statement from the match referee Neeyamur Rashid.
Rangpur Riders 79 in 17.4 overs
(Nazmul 3/8, Patel 3/11, Miraz 2/12) lost to Rajshahi Kings 128/7
(Farhad 44*, Miraz 41*, Sunny 3/31) by 49 runs
M W L PTS
9 6 3 12
9 6 3 12
9 5 4 10
9 5 4 10
9 5 4 10
9 3 6 6
8 1 7 2
Comilla Victorians v Barisal Bulls, 1pm
Chittagong Vikings v Khulna Titans, 5:45pm
Both games will be held at SBNS, Mirpur