|| CF Correspondent ||
Captain Mushfiqur Rahim’s sublime 48 ball-59 was complemented by pacer Shahidul Islam’s 4-23 as Khulna Tigers brought them back into winning-way with a facile 52-run victory over a listless Rangpur Rangers in the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BBPL) at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Friday.
While Mushfiqur’s second half-century in the tournament helped Khulna recover from a shaky start to post a respectable 182-7, Shahidul’s four-for held Rangpur back to 130-9 to script the victory in a comprehensive manner.
This was Rangpur’s fifth defeat in six matches, which made their play-off equation absolutely tougher but this victory pushed Khulna to the third position and brightened their hope to keep them amongst the four teams of play-off phase.
Khulna won the first three matches in a row before conceding two straight defeats. And they were in a position to make it three defeats in a row when Rangpur sent them in batting and left them in precarious 23-2. That included the wicket of Rilee Rossouw who has been in excellent form. Rossouw was out for naught in this match.
At this point, it seemed Rangpur’s change of captaincy for the third time in six matches did wonder as Shane Watson who joined the side yesterday night was appointed as the new captain on his first appearance in BBPL. Earlier Mohammad Nabi led Rangpur four matches before Tom Abell was appointed captain for one match.
However, Shamsur Rahman Shuvo then followed their suit of Mehidy Hasan Miraj (12) who was promoted as opener and Rossouw to make the team three down for 45. Nazmul Hossain Shanto who held the other end and at the same time paced the innings fell for 30 before the team’s run crossed 100.
Mushfiqur and Najibullah Zadran then resisted and shared 82-run for the fifth wicket stand to help the side push towards a big total.
Zadran was out on 41 off 26, hitting six fours and one six. Mushfiqur then was dismissed in the last over but not before Khulna reached a total that looked outright safe. Mushfiqur smashed four fours and two sixes in his knock.
Amid Mushfiqur and Zadran’s carnage, Rangpur pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman, yet again came up with a superb bowling show as he finished with 3-28 in his four overs. Lewis Gregory took 2-36 while Mohammad Nabi though took one wicket, conceded just 16 runs in his four overs.
But Mustafizur’s excellent bowling was undermined by the batsman and the rot began with the newly appointed captain Shane Watson, who was dismissed for 5 by Robbie Frylinck in the second over.
Mohammad Amir then got rid of in form Naim Sheikh who blasted 20 off 9 with three fours and one six. Shafiul Islam and Shahidul Islam joined the party to tear apart Rangpur middle order before Lewis Gregory resisted.
He held the one end amid the wickets tumbling at the other end. When Tanvir Islam removed Gregory for his team’s highest 34, it was all over for Rangpur. The rest of the batsmen then just reduced the margin.
Khulna’s pacer Shahidul Islam claimed 4-23 to be the eventual wrecker-in-chief for Rangpur. Tanvir Islam grabbed 2-29.