Khulna Titans failed to live up to the expectations once again as they suffered their third consecutive defeat in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) losing to Rajshahi Kings by seven wickets at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz, the captain of the Kings, hit his first-ever T20 fifty in the match to register their maiden win in the cricket extravaganza.
While replying to Khulna’s 117, Mohammad Hafeez, the Pakistani recruit of Rajshahi, fell for 6 runs. He went to hit Taijul Islam for a big shot but failed to judge the spin as he skied the ball and Ariful Haque sprinted from his position to take a superb catch.
The initial blow was not enough to stop Rajshahi’s run to their first win of the season as they added 94 runs with the help of the captain Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Mominul Haque. While Mominul scored 44 off 43 balls with four fours, Miraz ended with his first T20 fifty (51) off 45 balls with six fours and a six to his credit.
Miraz was dismissed by Afghan China-man bowler Zahir Khan with Khulna needing only 9 to win. Soumya Sarkar (11) and Laurie Evans did the remaining job with great care and Khulna ended up with a victory by seven wickets in 18.5 overs.
Earlier, Khulna decided to bat first after winning the toss and their openers -- Paul Stirling and Junaid Siddique -- managed a solid start posting 40 runs in the first wicket stand. But Khulna failed to set a challenging total as they wrapped in for 117/9 in 20 overs in the first innings.
Paul fell for 16 runs when he went to drive Mustafizur Rahman towards the cover area but the shot was straight to Mominul Haque who took a catch at extra-cover.
While passing the 50-run mark after breaking the opening stand, Khulna lost three wickets. Junaid was dismissed by Sri Lankan left-arm pacer Isuru Udana. Junaid went to pull without having free space for his arm and skied the ball. Fazle Mahmud Rabbi took an easy catch at square leg.
Jahurul Islam Omi, the wicketkeeper-batsman, failed once again to take responsibility when he fell for one. He tried to clear Arafat Sunny for a biggy but did not manage perfectly and Udana took a catch at long-on.
Khulna kept losing the wickets on a regular basis which prevented them from making long partnerships what they needed much.
Junaid’s 23 off 18 remained as the best knock of the innings for Khulna. He hit four fours while Dawid Malan scored 22 off 18 hitting one four and one six. The others Khulna batsmen were clueless to face the pace of Isuru Udana and Mustafizur Rahman.
While Udana took three wickets conceding 15 runs in four overs with a maiden, Mustafizur bagged two wickets for 18 runs. Arafat Sunny, Qais Ahmed and Soumya Sarkar were the others bowlers to take one wicket each for Rajshahi.
Khulna Titans will face off Chittagong Vikings in their next match on January 12 at 12:30pm in Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium and Rajshahi Kings play Comilla Victorians on January 11 at 7:00pm at the same venue.