A commanding fifty from skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto helped Minister Group Rajshahi seal a six-wicket victory over star-studded Gemcon Khulna in the third match of the ongoing Bangabandhu T20 Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.
Rajshahi faced very little challenges while in chase of a mediocre 146 for six set by Khulna. Skipper Najmul was the most impressive with the bat, scoring an authoritative 34-ball 55 that featured six boundaries and three maximums. The left-hander was looking to be in the groove for a much bigger score but was left undone by a Rishad Hossain delivery in the 11th over. He was trapped in front while trying to work the leggie on the onside after having hit the young leg-spinner for a six and four in the previous two deliveries.
Rony Talukder, Fazle Mahmud and Mohammad Ashraful contributed with 26, 24 and 25 (not out) respectively as Rajshahi made it two out of two wins in the five-team T20 tournament.
Earlier, after electing to bat, it was once again Ariful Haque who rescued Khulna after a top-order collapse saw the Mahmudullah Riyad-led side struggling at five for 51 at one stage of the game. The 28-year-old played an unbeaten 31-ball 41-run knock to help his side post a modest total.
The big names of Khulna like Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Imrul Kayes all failed to leave a mark. Shakib, who returned to cricket after a year-long ban, returned figures of 27 for no wicket in his four overs after scoring 12 off nine deliveries with the bat.
Ariful rescues star-studded Khulna again
The hype that surrounds the star-studded Gemcon Khulna was not reflected in the way they played as the Mahmudullah Riyad-led side could only muster a mediocre 146 for six against Minister Group Rajshahi in the third match of the ongoing Bangabandhu T20 Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.
It was Ariful Haque who once again rescued Khulna after a top-order collapse saw them struggling at five for 51 at one stage of the game. Ariful, who struck Mehidy Hasan Miraz for four massive sixes in the final over to seal a victory against Fortune Barishal in their previous game, yet again came up with an unbeaten knock today to help Khulna's cause. The 28-year-old's unbeaten 31-ball 41-run knock was laced with two boundaries and three maximums. The right-hander was accompanied by Shamim Hossain for a sixth-wicket 49-run stand before the latter was dismissed after a 25-ball 35 in the 16th over.
The big names like Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Imrul Kayes all failed to leave a mark. Among many national stars that Khulna boast, only Anamul Haque impressed with the way he batted. The right-hander looked to be getting into the groove for a big score as he pounced on every opportunity to smash a boundary. But his impressive innings was cut short, albeit through very little fault of his own, as the opener was victim of a run-out in the 8th over following a solid 24-ball 26.
Premier all-rounder Shakib, who returned to cricket after a year-long ban imposed by the ICC last year, failed to make his presence felt. Shakib (12 off 9) was caught at backward square leg -- just like the way he was dismissed in the previous game -- while trying to pull pacer Mukidul Islam for a maximum after having hit the young pacer for two boundaries in the same over.
Khulna elect to bat against Rajshahi
Gemcon Khulna won the toss and elected to bat against Minister Group Rajshahi in the third match of the ongoing Bangabandhu T20 Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.
The five-team T20 tournament produced two very thrilling contests on the opening day Tuesday with both Minister Group Rajshahi and Gemcon Khulna winning their encounters against Beximco Dhaka and Fortune Barishal respectively in the final over.
There was drama, agony and, most importantly, some good cricket from all four teams, which raised the bar for the coming days.
Two of the winners of the opening day face each other today in the day game. Najmul Hossain Shanto's Rajshahi take the field with an unchanged squad while Mahmudullah Riyad's Khulna made one change as leg-spinner Rishad Hossain replaces young pacer Hasan Mahmud.
The big names of Khulna -- including the likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Imrul Kayes and Anamul Haque -- would surely like to make an impact in today's game after failing to live up to their billing in their first match.