Riders saddle Bulls
Amidst all the permutations and combinations in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), Rangpur Riders's 29-run win yesterday against the Barisal Bulls confirmed one thing: Mushfiqur Rahim's Bulls and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's Comilla Victorians are officially out of this season's league.
While the Bulls and the Victorians struggled throughout the competition, they still had a ray of light prior to yesterday. However, that hope ended after an all-round performance from Rangpur at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
Batting first, the Riders rode on a 76-run stand off 63 balls between Mohammad Shahzad and Mohammad Mithun to post 154.
While Shahzad scored a 40-ball 48, with four fours and a six, Mithun finished on 38 off 41 with one six and a four after Rangpur lost the out-of-form Soumya Sarkar early in the game when Kamrul Islam Rabbi dismissed him in the fourth over for a 12-ball 17.
Ziaur Rahman posted a 17-ball 23 towards the end, with two fours and a six, to help the Riders cross the 150-run mark.
Thisara Perera, who dismissed Mithun and Anwar Ali, was Barisal's best performer and finished with figures of 2 for 26.
In reply, the Bulls, who were looking to play very aggressively and seemingly wanted to finish the game with a number of overs in hand in order to boost their run-rate, were dismissed for 125 in 18.2 overs.
They began the chase well with a number of boundaries flowing in. In fact, while losing Rayad Emrit, Mushfiqur Rahim and Jeevan Mendis early, they were still poised at 68 for 3 in 8.1 overs and they were going at a brilliant run-rate of 7.87.
However, once Fazle Mahmud and Dawid Malan were sent back for scores of 21 and 30 respectively, Barisal collapsed. Thisara Perera came towards the end and tried to revive things with Shahriar Nafees as the duo put on 34 runs. They were looking good until Perera was caught in the deep off Shahid Afridi for a 17-ball 24 before eventually folding for 125 in 18.2 overs.
Rangpur's bowling attack did well despite the absence of Arafat Sunny, who has been reported for his bowling action. Shohag Gazi, Liam Dawson, Rubel Hossain and Shahid Afridi took two wickets each while Anwar Ali and Naeem Islam took a scalp each.
In order to confirm Rangpur's place in the last four, they will need to win their last game against the Comilla Victorians.
Barisal opener Dawid Malan blamed the lack of collective team performance behind their early exit in the competition.
“It is disappointing, especially as we won three out of four in Dhaka in the first leg. We didn't have enough people chipping in for the rest of the team. It wasn't a collective team performance. If we had played well as a team we could have made the top four,” said Malan.
He described the tournament as a mixed bag personally, but on a general note he said that the BPL could be one of the better franchisee tournaments in the near future if organised better.