Ariful Haque once again rescued Gemcon Khulna from the ultimate blushes as he guided the side to 146-6, following a sensational batting collapse against Minister Group Rajshahi in their second match of the Bangbanahdu T20 Cup at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
The star-studded Khulna who had two experienced and best batsmen of Bangladesh in Shakib Al Hasan and captain Mahmudullah Riyad in the top order was reeling to 51-5 after opting to bat first.Apart from opener Anamul Haque Bijoy who scored 24 ball-26, no one could stand tall against a pumped-up Minister Group Rajshahi bowling.
Shakib again failed with bat, after scoring just 12 while Mahmudullah was dismissed on 7.
Ariful who won the match against Fortune Barishal single-handedly by striking four sixes in five balls when they required 22 runs to win, again came up as a rescuer. This time he blasted an unbeaten 31 ball-41 to give the bowlers something to defend, following his match-winning 34 ball-48 not out against Barishal.
Like his previous innings, Ariful firstly tried to set him in the crease before going for the ultimate kill in the death overs.
This time he got Shamim Hossain in his company and together they shared 49-run to stabilize the innings. Shamim contributed the side with a significant 25 ball-35 runs knock with three fours and two sixes.
After the dismissal of Shamim, Ariful came up with all guns blazing to push the score towards 150. Thanks to Ariful’s blitz, Khulna scored 56 runs for one wicket in the last five overs.Pace bowler Mukidul Islam Mugdho was the highest wicket-taker for Rajshahi with 2-44 while Ebadot Hossain, Mahedi Hasan and Arafat Sunny picked up one wicket apiece.
Gemcon Khulna 146-6 in 20 overs (Ariful Haque 41 not out, Shamim 35, Anamul Bijoy 26, Shahidul 17; Mugdho 2-44, Sunny 1-17, Mahedi 1-23, Ebadot 1-27)