Gayle storm blows away Khulna Titans
Gayle tremendous knock of 126 from just 51 deliveries takes Rangpur Riders past Khulna Titans.
Khulna's total of 167 had seemed like a fighting score and that idea persevered at the start of Rangpur innings when Sohag Gazi fell for just one and Brendon McCullum for naught inside the third over.
Gayle's carnage however remained the decisive factor in this eliminator match as Khulna Titans were completely blown away. The opener started his big-hitting from the very first over as he hit Abu Jayed for six. In the second over he signaled his intentions, hitting Mahmudullah for two fours and a six.
Jofra Archer, who bagged two wickets, was Khulna's most economic bowler, conceding 30 in his four overs but he ended up conceding 20 of those 30 runs in one over as Gayle storm swept over him as well.
Gayle reached his fifty in just 23 deliveries with a pull shot off Mohammad Irfan and he decided to stick around and win Rangpur the game. In many ways it was a patient knock from the West Indian, who showed how to pace an innings in the shortest form of the game. Mohammed Mithun, who came on after McCullum's dismissal, scored a patient 36-ball 30 while Gayle was wrecking havoc.
In the end, the target of 168 looked really small as Gayle picked up his century in just 45-deliveries. This was his 19th T20 hundred and four of them have come in the BPL. Gayle's ton is also the first century of this season's BPL.
Gayle hit an amazing 14 sixes on his way to 126 while there were also six fours. He hit two big sixes off Nazmul Hossain Shanto to finish proceedings and give Rangpur an eight-wicket victory.
Earlier, Brathwaite's late surge helped Khulna Titans post 167 on the board in the crucial elimination match against Rangpur Riders.
Brathwaite struck a 9-ball 25 to push the Titans towards a fighting total after Rangpur captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza chose to field first at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.
Brathwaite scooped the first delivery he faced, a delivery by pacer Rubel Hossain for four. Then he got stuck into Lasith malinga, hitting the fast bowler for a six and two four's in the 18th over.
Nicholas Pooran contributed with the bat as well, playing a handy 22-ball 28 knock before he fell leg-before to Lasith Malinga. Thanks to some good death over hitting, Khulna picked up 57 runs off the last four overs.
Earlier, opener Nazmul Hasan Shanto was the first wicket to fall, top-edging a sweep shot in the fourth over as Shohag Gazi took a simple catch off his own bowling.
Afif Hossain then hit Mashrafe Bin Mortaza for six even though the shot was mistimed. Rash shots were however not the order of the day when he was clean bowled by Lasith Malinga with a delivery that swung in from leg to middle.
Khulna skipper Mahmudullah was on fire from the word go as he heaved Malinga for a six off the second ball he faced before gloving one down fine leg which raced to the boundary for four.
Mahmudulah continued in same vein next over, hitting a six and a four off left-arm off-spinner Nazmul Islam but he got a bit too adventurous when he danced down the wicket in the fourth ball of the over and was holed out at long-on after a cameo six-ball 20 knock.
Ariful Haque played a patient knock of 29 before Rubel Hossain's short delivery gained up on him and Ravi Bopara took an easy catch. With the fall of Ariful, Titans lost their fifth wicket in the 17th over with 122 on the board before Pooran and Brathwaite gave Khulna innings some much needed momentum.
Lasith Malinga picked up two wickets but conceded 49 runs in his four overs. While none of the batsmen were able to score big runs, Khulna middle order and lower middle order's contribution helped them post 167 for the loss of six wickets.