Charles powers Riders

Rangpur Riders galloped into the Bangladesh Premier League final by defeating Comilla Victorians by 36 runs in the second qualifier at the Sher-e-Bangla National stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

Rangpur’s Brendon McCullum lived up to expectations for the first time in this edition with a solid 78 while Johnson Charles laid the platform for the win with an unbeaten hundred.

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s charges will now take on the defending champions Dhaka Dynamites led by Shakib Al Hasan in the final today.

Rangpur resumed the innings on 55 for one in seven overs following the drama on Sunday when rain forced a close to the day’s play. The Riders then posted a huge total of 192 for three, in chase of which Comilla were bundled out on 156.

The Victorians did make a confident start, riding on skipper Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das, the side reached fifty inside five overs. But after Tamim’s departure — top-edging Mahsrafe — on 36 runs off 19 balls which included six fours and a six, Comilla slowly lost their grip on the game.

 Liton top scored for Comilla with a 28-ball 39 that saw him hit six fours and a six but the Victorians were never able to recover in their chase.

Pacer Rubel Hossain was the pick of the bowlers for Rangpur as he scalped three wickets for 34 while teammate Ravi Bopara took two.

Resuming the innings on 46 Charles, who was in great touch, went on to remain unbeaten as he added a 63-ball 105 which included seven sixes and nine fours.

McCullum also displayed an array of power hitting alongside player-of-the-match Charles as the duo struck a BPL record breaking second wicket partnership of 151 runs, surpassing David Malan and Shahriar Nafees’s 150-run stand for Barisal Bulls in 2016. It was also the third highest partnership for any wicket in the history of the BPL.

28-year-old Charles who was middling almost everything yesterday hit consecutive sixes off medium pacer Mohammad Saifuddin in the 13th over. The way he struck the first one while clearing his front leg out of the way was a treat to watch.

At the other end Baz looked terrific as well when he went for a paddle sweep towards the leg-side on a full toss from pacer Hasan Ali. Eventually McCullum chose to guide the ball towards the off side and the swashbuckling batsman reached his fifty with a magnificent down-the-wicket six over long on.

However, McCullum was bowled off a slower delivery while going for a slog on 78 runs off 46 balls which featured nine sixes and a four.

Meanwhile Dynamites skipper Shakib informed that they have already formed an idea about their opponent during the group stages and that his side have the momentum and are looking forward to clinching the title again.

“Our bowling attack is good and along with the three main spinners [Sunil Narine, Shahid Afridi and himself] our pacer Abu Hider has also bowled really well throughout the tournament for us. We did fail in the batting department at the middle but now we are consistent which is important at this stage of the tournament. We have the momentum and will try to win the final yet again. There are a lot of big players in the side and everyone is willing to give the best,” Shakib told reporters during a training session at the Academy ground in Mirpur yesterday.

Source: The Daily Star.

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