Rangpur edge Khulna in battle of nerve

Rangpur Riders’ South African batsman Rilee Rossouw plays a shot during their Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 match against Khulna Titans at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Sunday. — New Age photo

Defending champions Rangpur Riders held their nerve under pressure to restrict Khulna Titans and secure their first win in the sixth edition of Bangladesh Premier League on Sunday.
After an inauspicious start to the tournament with a three-wicket loss to Chittagong Vikings in the opening match, the holders seemed heading towards their second successive defeat before bowlers turned the corner.
Skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza took a crucial wicket and held an equally vital catch as Rangpur restricted Khulna to 161-5 after putting an impressive 169-3 in their 20 overs for an eight-run win in Mirpur.
Irish cricketer Paul Sterling struck 61 off 46 balls and put 90-run in the opening stand with Junaed Siddique to give Khulna a solid start but they faltered just when it mattered most.
English pacer Benny Howell removed Junaed for 33 off 30 balls to break the stand and Shafiul Islam gave another quick breakthrough by dismissing out-of-sort Nazmul Hossain for one in the next over.
But Rangpur were not in the game until Mashrafee got rid of Sterling, who looked to be in ominous touch as he hit eight fours and a six before he shuffled across to get bowled.
Mahmudullah brought the innings back on track with four boundaries before he picked out a low full toss of Farhad Reza to give Mashrafee a catch at extra cover.
The Rangpur skipper dived forward to complete the catch ending Mahmudullah’s 17-ball innings of 24 runs that finally gave the holders an edge in an otherwise evenly-contested game.
South African batsman Rilee Rossouw set up the win by hitting an unbeaten 76 off 52 balls while English all-rounder Ravi Bopara gave the side a late impetus with 40 off 29 balls.
Rossouw batted with ease despite the fall of regular wickets in the other end and brought his half-century off 40 balls in style with back-to-back sixes off Khulna’s Pakistani-origin US pacer Ali Khan.
Rossouw and Bopara added 104-run in their unbroken fourth wicket stand after Rangpur’s third wicket fell for 65 runs in the 10th over of the innings.
The duo picked up 21 runs in the 18th over bowled by Carlos Brathwaite and after a quiet 19th over, where just three runs were scored, they flayed Ali Khan to score 17 runs in the last over to hand Rangpur a defendable total.
Rangpur will face star-studded Comilla Victorians in their next match while Khulna will face Dhaka Dynamites with both the matches scheduled on Tuesday.

Source: New Age.

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