Khulna Titans 158 for 8 (Mahmudullah 59, Rubel 3-35) beat Rangpur Riders 149 for 6 (Bopara 59, Nahidul 58, Afif 2-4, Junaid 1-20) by nine runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Khulna Titans went to the top of the BPL's points table with a tight nine-run win over Rangpur Riders. Khulna over-rode a 100-run fifth-wicket stand between Ravi Bopara and Nahidul Islam that couldn't quite crack the whip in the last five overs of the chase.
Fifteen runs were needed off the final over, bowled by Junaid Khan. Bopara squeezed out a single off the first ball before Nahidul was run out off the next, having made 58 off 43 balls. Bopara took three runs off the next two balls. Junaid allowed a single off the fifth ball, which was the fifth yorker. Bopara was caught off the last ball with Afif Hossain taking a fine catch at long-on. Bopara made 59 off 44 balls with four boundaries and a six.
Put into bat earlier, Khulna reached 158 for 8 in 20 overs with Mahmudullah reaching his second successive fifty. He made 59 off 36 balls with six fours and two sixes. Rubel Hossain took three wickets while there were two for Lasith Malinga and one each for Mashrafe Mortaza and Thisara Perera.
Khulna falter in early attack
Rilee Rossouw, Afif Hossain and Nazmul Hossain Shanto fell in the first 6.3 overs as they tried to slog everything in their half. Rossouw, who finished the first over with a straight six, was bowled when he missed the slog-sweep against Sohag Gazi two balls into the second over.
Rubel got the wicket of Afif, who struck two early fours before being pinned back with a good bouncer that was followed by a yorker which he couldn't keep out. Shanto fell to a Mashrafe slower ball in the seventh over, having tried plenty of scoops, reverse-scoops and sweeps in his run-a-ball 20.
Mahmudullah settles down
Nicholas Pooran, playing his first match this season, added 43 runs with Mahmudullah for the fourth wicket to lead Khulna's recovery. Pooran struck just one four in his 16 off 20 balls, but Mahmudullah found boundaries regularly during their partnership.
Mahmudullah struck straight sixes off Gazi and Thisara on either side of the Pooran wicket, and went on to add 38 runs for the fifth wicket with Ariful Haque. He reached his fifty in the 16th over, and looked set to take Khulna to a big total.
Tag-team effort brings back Rangpur
When Mahmudullah lofted Rubel in the next over, Brendan McCullum ran hard to his right at long-on, caught the ball and parried it to Nahidul who completed the catch. Rubel picked up his third wicket one ball later when he nailed Ariful leg-before for 16.
He finished with figures of 3 for 35 from his four overs. More crucially, Perera got rid of Carlos Brathwaite in the penultimate over when he was starting to look dangerous. Lasith Malinga finished well too by giving away just seven runs in the last over as Rangpur conceded 42 runs in the last five overs.
Gayle-McCullum influence lasts 2.5 overs
Mahmudullah handed the new ball to Afif who removed Brendan McCullum off his second ball, as he toe-ended a full ball to long-on. Gayle got two streaky fours off Abu Jayed in the next over before launching him over long-off for his first six. But Jayed got him next ball, caught-behind for 16.
Mohammad Mithun fell run-out to a direct hit from Brathwaite soon after and then Afif bowled Fazle Mahmud in the eighth over to reduce Rangpur to 45 for 4.
Nahidul gets his first 50
Bopara and Nahidul - another first-timer in this season - then took stock of a dicey situation. They didn't rely on hitting sixes or fours primarily, but banked on picking a lot of singles and twos, as they had very few batsmen coming after them.
The first boundary of their partnership came after 15 deliveries, with Nahidul getting two consecutive fours off Jayed in the 11th over. With 58 required off the last five overs, Nahidul and Bopara creamed three fours off Brathwaite. Nahidul reached his maiden T20 fifty in the 17th over, having faced 34 balls.
Bopara leaves it too late
After Junaid bowled a superb 18th over in which he conceded just six runs, Bopara launched Jofra Archer over wide long-on to bring down the pressure. But there were no more boundaries in the penultimate over which went for 14 runs. Junaid bowled the superb last over, to finish with 1 for 20 from his four overs.