Rangpur Riders kept their playoff hopes alive after beating Barisal Bulls by 29 runs in the Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20's fourth edition in Mirpur's Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Saturday.
With four wins in 12 matches, Barisal became the first team to complete their campaign while Rangpur, who have won six of their 11 games, are still in the running for a playoff berth with one tie remaining.
Barisal were bundled out for 125 in 18.2 overs after Rangpur posted a fighting total of 154/5.
Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Shahzad, who was suspended for two matches after poking Rajshahi Kings' Sabbir Rahman, saw his ban reduced by half after promising to the BPL governing council that he would not repeat such acts in future.
And he made the most of the opportunity with the bat scoring the highest 48 off 40 balls, featuring four boundaries and a maximum after Rangpur elected to bat.
The in-form Mohammad Mithun was the second highest scorer with 38 off 41 balls. And even though Pakistan superstar Shahid Afridi missed out after being dismissed for seven, Ziaur Rahman remained not out on a quickfire 17-ball 23, studded with two fours and a six to guide Rangpur to a challenging total.
Kamrul Islam Rabbi and Sri Lankan seamer Thisara Perera picked up two wickets each for Barisal.
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Barisal captain Mushfiqur Rahim makes his way to the dressing room after being dismissed for one DHAKA TRIBUNE
In reply, Barisal never looked comfortable as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. English batsman Dawid Malan’s 30 off 26 balls, decorated with half a dozen boundaries, was the highest score for Barisal. Perera added 24 while Fazle Mahmud scored 21 but they were helpless to prevent yet another defeat.
It was a collective bowling performance by Rangpur as Sohag Gazi, Rubel Hossain, Afridi and Liam Dawson all picked up two wickets each, thus steering their side to a comfortable win at the end.
Barisal Bulls 125 in 18.2 overs
(Malan 30, Dawson 2/11, Gazi 2/12) lost to Rangpur Riders 154/5
(Shahzad 48, Mithun 38, Perera 2/26) by 29 runs