Rangpur Riders 180 for 7 (Mithun 44, Reece 1-13) beat Chittagong Vikings 176 for 7 (van Zyl 68, Nahidul 1-4) by three wickets
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Thisara Perera cracked Taskin Ahmed deep into the mid-wicket stands off the last ball to lift Rangpur Riders to a three-wicket win against Chittagong Vikings. The holiday crowd enjoyed a superb contest that see-sawed several times before leaving Rangpur needing three off the last ball.
The final over started with Rangpur still 14 short of the win. After taking two off the first ball, Perera smacked Taskin for a six off the second before Nahidul Islam was run out off the next ball.
Shahriar Nafees fell to a catch at long-on off the following delivery before Perera hurried back for a second run. As Perera shaped to scoop the final ball, Taskin delivered a wide which narrowed it down to three off the last ball. Then off the last ball, Perera delivered the knockout blow.
Stiaan van Zyl earlier top scored for Chittagong with his 68 off 40 balls to help the home side to 176 for 7 in 20 overs. But their innings didn't start on the right note.
Ronchi stranded mid-way
Chittagong were put into bat and their dynamic opening duo started off terribly. After Soumya Sarkar had struck the ball on the offside, he took several steps for a second run which Luke Ronchi saw, and responded to, but Soumya suddenly stopped. Ronchi froze as well, but he was halfway a down the pitch when Mohammad Mithun removed the bails at the striker's end, depriving Chittagong of their now-customary rapid start.
Raza, van Zyl lift run-rate
After Soumya fell in the eighth over, Chittagong's run-rate was hovering around the seven-run mark. The push came from the Sikandar Raza-van Zyl fourth-wicket stand that added 76 runs in the next 7.3 overs.
Three sixes came in the 12th, 13th and 14th overs, all from van Zyl, who belted Perera, Mashrafe Mortaza and Lasith Malinga twice over midwicket and once over long-off. The third of those sixes took him to his maiden fifty for Chittagong. The stand ended prematurely when Raza gave deep mid-wicket an easy catch after making 22 off 19 balls.
Rangpur stem the flow
Najibullah Zadran and van Zyl added 33 runs in just 3.3 overs, for the fifth wicket, which included a couple of sixes. But Perera and Malinga kept things quiet in the last five overs in which Chittagong scored only 43 runs. Perera was particularly good, giving away just three runs in the penultimate over, in which van Zyl and Luis Reece got out.
Mashrafe takes charge at No. 3
Like he did in the 2015 BPL campaign, Mashrafe promoted himself to No. 3 to provide his side with some batting balance. It was necessary too, since the Chris Gayle-Brendon McCullum show didn't take off. McCullum particularly struggled in his 20-ball stay of 15 before Al Amin castled him in the sixth over.
Gayle, who had hit two sixes already, saw Mashrafe take charge by hitting three sixes and four boundaries. They added 60 runs for the second wicket, with Mashrafe getting his sixes over midwicket and the straight boundary. He was undone by Sunzamul in the 10th over, but his 17-ball 42 put a dent in Chittagong's confidence.
Gayle's wicket brings Chittagong back
Gayle followed Mashrafe back to the pavilion although his dismissal wasn't as straightforward. Ronchi took the catch at the square-leg boundary but the third umpire was summoned to see if he took a second step onto the ropes after completing the catch. Several replays later, he was adjudged out for 33, although it wasn't altogether conclusive. Gayle struck a four and three sixes in his 25-ball knock.
Mithun and Ravi Bopara added 32 runs for the fourth wicket, without the big hits, and the required run-rate started to climb.
Rangpur get squeezed, but do enough
After Bopara got out in the 16th over, Mithun struck three fours after which Perera launched van Zyl for a straight six. Taskin conceded seven runs in the 18th over before Luis Reece, bowling the penultimate over, dismissed Mithun and gave away just four runs but, unfortunately for the hosts, Taskin couldn't defend the total in the final over.