Khulna Titans put up yet another abysmal batting show to taste their third straight defeat in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) as Rajshahi Kings comfortably recorded a seven-wicket victory on wednesday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Despite a good start, after opting to bat first, Khulna were able to put up just 117 for nine in their 20-over allocation before Rajshahi, rode on skipper Mehidy Hasan Miraj's maiden T20 fifty to gun down the total with seven balls to spare.
It was Rajshahi Kings' first victory in the tournament, after being beaten by Dhaka Dynamites by 83 runs in the opening match.
Some of the Khulna batsmen got a start but none of them could simply carry on it to give the score a respectable look. It all started with the dismissal of Paul Stirling (16) who chipped one straight to extra cover off Mustafizur Rahman bowling.
Before that expensive drive, it looked all good for Khulna as Junaid Siddique and Stirling remained untroubled. Just after the dismissal of Stirling, Junaid perished to a loose shot for 18 ball-23, hitting four fours. The 23 however remained the highest score for Khulna eventually. Ishuru Udana, the Kings fast bowler recruited from Sri Lanka and their very own Mustafizur Rahman then not only stemmed the run flow, but also kept striking at regular intervals, capitalizing the injudicious shots of the Titans batsmen.
Left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny and medium pacer Soumya Sarkar joined the party only to extend the agony and Khulna batsmen further found them in wanting. Dawid Malan was the next best scorer
for Khulna with 22 while David Wiese made 14. Udana returned figures of three for only 15 and Mustafizur was almost equally economical, giving away just 18 runs to claim two wickets. Left arm spinner Taijul Islam removed Kings' opener Mohammad Hafeez cheaply to indicate a thrilling battle. But Mominul Haque and skipper Mehidy Hasan Miraj, who promoted himself as No.3 batsman didn't make the mistakes that Titans batsmen did.
They bide their time at the expense of their strike-rate, which eventually paid off. As they got set in the crease, they found batting easier. Their smart batting helped them share an 89-run partnership for the second wicket and took Kings on the verge of victory.
Stirling then got the better of Mominul who aimed to clear the boundary in bid to complete his half-century but only found Shoriful Islam who grabbed the easy chance at long-on. Mominul's 43 ball-44 was laced with four fours.
Mehdiy didn't let him bogged down and cut one past deep point for doubles to complete his maiden T20 fifty off 43 balls. Just after he completed his fifty, he was bowled by Afghan spinner Zahir Khan. His 51 off 45 was studded by six fours and one six.
Soumya Sarkar and Lourie Evans completed the inevitable with the former completing the chase with a deep-midwicket-boundary.
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