Malinga, Bopara fire Rangpur to first win
Rangpur Riders 155 for 4 (Mithun 46, Bopara 39*) beat Rajshahi Kings 154 for 8 (Talukdar 47, Sammy 29, Najmul 2-20, Malinga 2-34) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
In a game that lasted much longer than the average T20, even after taking into account time allowances, Rangpur Riders coasted to a six-wicket win against Rajshahi Kings. Ravi Bopara's unbeaten 39 off 23 balls lent the flourish to their chase of 155, after Mohammad Mithun and Shahriar Nafees set them up with vital knocks upfront.
Rajshahi were left to rue two dropped catches - by Luke Wright and Samit Patel - at crunch moments. They may also reflect on missed opportunities with the bat, posting just 154 for 8, achieved largely because of late flourish from Daren Sammy, the captain, and Mehidy Hasan Miraz.
Malinga's infamous welcome
On his BPL debut, Lasith Malinga was in for harsh punishment from Rony Talukdar, who hit him for two fours and a nonchalant flick for six over midwicket. A last-ball single capped off a 15-run over that gave Rajshahi an explosive beginning.
After a flying start, Rajshahi slipped from 61 for 1 to 90 for 5. That was largely because of an excellent catch from Thisara Perera to dismiss Luke Wright and a poor choice of stroke from Mushfiqur Rahim, out reverse sweeping. The slide continued when Malinga found his mojo, trapping Samit Patel with a toe-crusher. Talukdar's dismissal to a slow Mashrafe off-cutter completed the slide.
The Sammy touch
The captain took it upon himself to provide the late impetus. He brought out his typical bottom-handed whips and muscle to come up with a 18-ball 29. He found support in the form of Mehidy, who made 15 off five deliveries, to ensure Rajshahi blasted 58 off the last five overs.
Wright's catch offers Rajshahi a glimmer
Rangpur lost Adam Lyth and Johnson Charles inside the first four overs of the chase, before a rearguard lifted them. Mohammed Mithun biffed 46 quick runs and put on 75 for the third wicket with Shahriar Nafees, before Luke Wright's sensational catch at backward point briefly gave Rajshahi hope.
The deflating drop
Before Wright could soak in the athletic catch at point, he dropped a sitter to reprieve Bopara on 18. At that stage, Rangpur still needed 44 off 32. The asking rate was on the rise. The England allrounder would go on to remain unbeaten till the end, carving out a win that didn't seem as easy as it eventually turned out to be. Wright's disappointing night ended with another drop, running back from deep midwicket. Those were Rangpur's winning runs in the 19th over.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84