Skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto scored a brilliant half-century to guide Minister Rajshahi to a 6-wicket victory over star-studded Gemcon Khulna in the third match of the ongoing Bangabandhu T20 Cup at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the capital on Thursday.
Khulna were at dire straits after electing to bat before Ariful Haque rescued them as the 28-year-old played an unbeaten 31-ball 41-run knock to help his side post a modest total but Rajshahi faced very little challenges during their chase of a mediocre 146 runs for 6 wickets set by Khulna.Skipper Najmul was the most impressive with the bat, scoring an authoritative 34-ball 55 that featured 6 boundaries and 3 maximums.
The left-hander was looking to be in the groove for a much bigger score but was left undone by a Rishad Hossain delivery in the 11th over as he was trapped in front while trying to work the leggie on the onside after having hit the young leg-spinner for a six and four in the previous two deliveries.
Rony Talukder, Fazle Mahmud and Mohammad Ashraful contributed with 26 runs, 24 runs and 25 (not out) runs respectively as Rajshahi made it two out of two games in the five-team T20 tournament.
The big names of Khulna namely Mahmudullah Riyad, Shakib Al Hasan, Imrul Kayes all failed to leave a mark. Shakib, who returned to cricket after a year-long ban, returned with figures of 27 runs for no wicket in his four overs after scoring 12 runs off 9 deliveries with the bat.