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January 25, 2013
Khulna Royal Bengals 150 for 7 (Nafees 53, Sharif 3-22) beat Rangpur Royals 141 for 7 (Nasir 70*, Zadran 3-21) by 9 runs
Khulna Royal Bengals, playing in front of a packed Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium, beat Rangpur Riders by nine runs. They have now turned around their flagging campaign with two wins in a row. Shahriar Nafees helped set up a competitive total on a pitch that was too slow for big hits before Shapoor Zadran rocked the top order of the opposition.
The fightback made for excellent viewing too, as the Royal Bengals made 106 runs in the last 10 overs, after struggling for 44 for 4 in the first 10. The fielding display also helped stop the Riders, who had won their last two games quite handsomely, from clinching the tight game. Zadran, the Afghanistan left-arm fast bowler, bowled a mean spell to take three wickets in his first two overs, while Daniel Harris kept things tight with his medium pace.
Riders' Nasir Hossain continued his good form, but was the only batsman to put up a fight, hammering 70 off 49 balls with seven fours and two sixes. He found some support from Dimitri Mascarenhas, who was foxed by Sanjamul Islam to hand back the advantage to the Royal Bengals after their 33-run sixth wicket stand.
Khulna's Nafees batted like a captain should, taking responsibility of an innings that lacked direction. Lou Vincent fell early, and the Riders lost three further wickets, but Nafees assumed control. The emphatic pulled six he hit off Fidel Edwards, the same bowler who had struck his face two years ago, was symbolic of his confidence.
Nafees scored 53 off 50 balls with five boundaries and two sixes, and added 70 runs for the fifth wicket with Harris, who stayed unbeaten on 48. Haris provided the final push to take his team to 150.
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