Rajshahi Royals reached the final of Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BBPL) as Captain Andre Russell’s fiery batting beat Chattogram Challengers in the second qualifier game in Dhaka on Wednesday.
Russell made unbeaten 54 runs off 22 balls, trumping Chris Gayle’s marauding 60 off 24 to clinch a two-wicket victory.Russell came up with all guns blazing to rescue Rajshahi. In his match-winning knock, he smashed two fours and seven sixes.
Gayle flourished after three poor innings and steered his side to 164 for 9. Rajshahi went past the target scoring 165 for 8 at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Rajshahi Royals will take on Khulna Tigers in the final match of the tournament on Friday.
Rajshahi were reduced to 14 runs for 2 wickets after losing Afif Hossain (2) and Liton Das (2) in third over and the situation further worsened when Chattogram captain Mahmudullah Riyad got the better of struggling Alok Kapali (9).
With 83 runs for 5 wickets at 15th overs, it was all but Chattogram’s game. But Russell had other ideas in his mind. With their final dream at knife’s edge, Russell brought up his big shots with such ease which broke Chattogram bowlers completely. He was briefly supported by Mohammad Nawaz’s 14 runs off 5 balls.
After being sent to bat first, Chattogram looked destined for a big total when Gayle gave them a fluent start amid the other batsmen’s struggles.His fellow opener Ziaur Rahman could make just 6 runs, after being troubled by Mohammad Irfan while in form Imrul Kayes added 5 runs.
After reaching half-century, Gayle was undone by a straight delivery of Afif to be dismissed for 60 runs off 24 balls where he struck 6 fours and 5 sixes.
Rajshahi bowlers Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Nawaz returned two wickets apiece.