Soumya Sarkar smashed his first half-century in the Bangladesh Premier League in four years but could not prevent the fourth consecutive defeat of Cumilla Warriors in the tournament in Dhaka on Saturday.
Soumya stayed unbeaten on 88 with five fours and six sixes facing 48 balls but Cumilla fell 15 runs short to score 175-4 in their 20 overs, replying to Rajshahi’s’ 190-4 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Rajshahi made a giant leap towards knock out phase with the win – their fifth in six matches, which came on back of a fine fifty of Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik and some useful contributions from Andre Russell and Afif Hossain.
Malik made 61 off 38 balls while Afif and Russell chipped in with 43 and 37 runs respectively, with the latter hitting four sixes in his blazing innings that made him only fifth cricketer in history to hit over 400 sixes in Twenty20 format.
Cumilla lost Robiul Islam (12) and in-form Dawid Malan inside batting powerplay to get reduced to 29-2 before Soumya helped them claw their way back into the contest with his unbeaten fifty.
Soumya, however, could not pace his innings timely and had to wait until 17th over to complete his first BPL fifty since 2015 before he finally accelerated his innings.
He scored 18 runs in the last over of the innings when the equation turned improbable, with Cumilla needing 35 runs.
‘I do not think we were quick enough in the first six overs .thats the first and foremost problem for us. We were 44 in the first six over .We need to be around 55 when you are chasing 190 ,’ said Cumilla’s Malan, the leading scorer in the tournament.
Malan also regretted their bowling in the last five overs, which he said denied them the chance to restrict Rajshahi potentially to 170 runs.
‘We have them 78 after 9 overs with the options of restricting them to 160 to 170 but again we went for 83 runs in the last five overs which hurt us,’ he said.
Rajshahi, the in-form team, took the control of the game from the start of their innings when Liton Das (26) and Afif put 56 runs in the opening stand.
Soumya bowled Afif but Malik and Russell batted sensibly to ensure they were always on top.
After putting the highest score at Mirpur in the ongoing edition, Rajshahi’s Afif said it did not occur to their minds that they could lose the game despite seeing the late blitz of Soumya.
‘In the last few overs they had to score 13 to 15 runs per over. But we knew we had the bowlers to stop them from doing it. So we were always confident about our win,’ said Afif.
Source: New Age.