Rangpur return to winning rhythm

Sports Correspondent

20 January, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Rangpur return to winning rhythm

Rangpur Riders ended their Sylhet phase on a perfect note as they spoiled the fare-well party of David Warner’s Sylhet Sixers as they defeated the hosts by 4 wickets in a high-scoring Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) encounter at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

Farhad Reza blasted a cameo of 18 runs off 6 balls, guiding Rangpur Riders to the brilliant victory.

Farhad joined skipper Mashrafe Mortaza in the penultimate in an adverse situation and accumulated 19 runs from the 19th over, bowled by rookie left-arm pacer Mehedi Hasan, with Farhad leading the charge.

Farhad hit a six over long-on in the last ball of the over to bring the equation down to 5 runs from the last 6 balls. He finished the game with straight dive off Alok Kapali to take Rangpur to 195 runs for 6 wickets.    

Sixers in their last match at the home ground got off to a nice start to defend the target as their Pakistani tall fast bowler Mohammad Irfan removed Chris Gayle for naught in the first over.

Sylhet’s initial zeal evaporated as they dropped four easy catches inside the first six overs—three of Roussouw and one of Alex Hales, who combined for a 63-run stand for the second wicket to lay a solid platform for AB de Villiers.

Hales was out after scoring 33 runs off 21 balls after Liton Das replaced Zaker Ali behind the wicket. Before dropping two sitters behind the wicket, Zaker Ali conceded 14 byes, much to the despair of the home crowd.

Riding on three lives Rossouw made Sylhet pay heavily as he shared a game-changing 67-run partnership off 37 balls with AB de Villiers who, playing his first BPL match, looked to be at his destructive best. Rossouw made his three lives count, clobbering 9 fours and 2 sixes in his knock.

Villiers hammered a 21-ball 34-run knock, hitting 2 fours and as many sixes, which featured the trademark AB maximum. He hit his signature slog-sweep six off Alok Kapali, getting down on one knee to heave it high wide over long-on. This was surely the shot of day.

Just as it looked, Rossouw and Villiers would seal the deal for Rangpur without any fuss, Taskin Ahmed dismissed Rossouw and Villiers at the same over giving Sylhet some hope.

Deprived of wickets twice, Mehedi Rana kept leaking runs as Taskin brought Sylhet back in contention with yet another double strike. This time he got Mohammad Mithun (14) and Nahidul (19), the last two recognised batsmen of Rangpur.

With 24 runs required from last two overs, Farhad Reza and Mashrafe Mortaza took Mehedi Rana in disdain to score 19 runs in the penultimate over, leaving them needing just five runs in the last over.

Farhad Reza smashed a straight drive for boundary to seal the match.

And Sylhet thus sent-off their captain Warner, who gave his utmost effort with an elbow injury, with a defeat.

Taskin finished with 4 wickets for 42 runs but it went in vein, so was Sabbir Rahman’s stellar effort with bat. Sabbir was key to Sylhet’s gigantic total, smashing a 51- ball 85-run innings, laced with 5 fours and 6 sixes.

He was ably supported by Nicholas Pooran who gave finishing touch with 47 runs off 27 balls, including 4 fours and 3 sixes. On his last BPL match, Warner made 19 runs off 21 balls.