Rajshahi Royals rode on fantastic performances from skipper Andre Russell, pacer Mohammad Irfan and batsman Irfan Sukkur to win the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League with a 21-run defeat of Khulna Tigers in the final at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.
It was an all-round performance from Russell that helped Rajshahi restrict Khulna to 149 for eight in chase of Rajshahi’s challenging 170 for four. Russell took the wicket of Khulna skipper Mushfiqur Rahim with a brilliant yorker in the 18th over, removing the biggest thorn on their way to glory. Rajshahi’s Irfan also remained impressive, returning figures of two for 18 in four overs that featured a maiden.
Khulna stayed alive for much of the chase thanks to Shamsur Rahman’s valiant fifty. Khulna started badly, losing both openers inside two overs after adding just 11 runs. Khulna’s resurgence was then ensured by Shamsur and Rilee Rossouw. The duo strung together a crucial 74-run third-wicket stand before Rossouw was dismissed in the 11th over, leaving Khulna at 85 for three.
The chase once again lost steam after Shamsur fell to a Kamrul Islam delivery in the 14th over after scoring 52 off 43 balls, which included four boundaries and two maximums.
Earlier, Sukkur’s only fifty of the tournament could not have come at a better time for Rajshahi Roayls. The left-hander’s 35-ball 52, complemented by unbeaten quickfire knocks from skipper Andre Russell and Mohammad Nawaz at the death, saw Rajshahi post a challenging 170 for four.
After being asked to bat, Rajshahi lost in-form opener Afif Hossain in the third over. Although Liton Das played a 28-ball 25-run knock and Irfan contributed with a blazing fifty, Rajshahi were in a spot of bother at one stage at 99 for four after 14.2. Had it not been for the late surge from Russell and Nawaz, Rajshahi may not have seen a challenging total on the board. Nawaz struck an unbeaten 20-ball 41, laced with six fours and two maximums, while Russell, who played a match-winning knock in the second qualifier against Chattogram Challengers, remained unbeaten for a 16-ball 27.