Gayle and Hales storm uproot Khulna with help from AB
The Rangpur Riders top-order hit form as Rangpur Riders overhauled the target of 182 posted by Khulna Titans. Alex Hales hit a 29-ball 55 at the top before De Villers hit reigned with his brand of T20 shots. Chris Gayle ensured the victory by getting amongst the runs with a half-century.
Khulna found themselves in between storms raised by Hales and then Gayle with AB de Villiers's bat also smiling. The target was big enough to whet the appetites of Gayle, De Villiers and Hales and they feasted well, picking up runs quickly.
Hales took charge early on as as he brought up his fifty off just 26 deliveries with Gayle at the other end just watching the show. It all happened in the eighth over when Gayle finally opened his arms, hitting Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah for two big sixes towards deep square-leg. Yasir came back by bowling Hales out after an incredible 29-ball 55, laced with eight fours and three sixes before De Villiers came to the crease and showed his mastery of the reverse-sweep, picking up a boundary off the last ball of the over.
De Villier continued in brisk fashion and just kept going. He hit Yasir for two fours and a six in the 13th over before perishing to Mahmudullah Riyad, out leg-before after a stormy 25-ball 41.
It was left to Gayle to show his T20 class after he had managed scores of 1, 8, 23, 7 and 0 in his previous five matches for Rangpur. He played patiently and then took Mahmudullah to the cleaners, hitting three big sixes in the 17th over. A thick outside edge off the bowling of David Wiese went for four as Gayle celebrated his first fifty in this season's BPL.
Gayle fell in the 19th over to Junaid Khan after a 40-ball 55 before Yasir removed Mohammad Mithun in the first ball of the final over. With Rangpur then needing five off four, Rilee Rossouw hit a six over deep square-leg to hand Rangpur their fourth win in the tournament which lifted Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's men to third in the standings after eight games.
Earlier, a David Wiese cameo at the death took Khulna Titans to a challenging total against the Rangpur Riders. Coming in to bat after the loss of skipper Mahmudullah Riyad (29 off 20), Wiese blazed a 15-ball 35 to take Khulna to 181 for six.
Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Brendon Taylor had consolidated things at the top after the loss of early wickets. Nazmul hit a team-high 48 off 35 deliveries, laced with two fours and three sixes as he and Taylor starred in a 49-run third-wicket partnership. After Taylor was removed by Gayle, Nazmul and Mahmudullah took the score to 134 with a 56-run stand for the fourth wicket. Both however fell to Farhad Reza off back-to-back deliveries in the 16th over trying to accelerate the score. Raza finished with four wickets even as Wiese took him apart in the death overs.
Khulna Titans 181/6 (Nazmul 48. Wiese 35*, Mahmudullah 29, Farhad 4/32, Mashrafe 1/17)
Rangpur Riders 183/4 (Hales 55, Gayle 55, De Villiers 41, Yasir 2/47)