Rajshahi Kings open their account in style
By Krunal, MyCricketHighlights Cricket Writer
9th Match: Rangpur Riders vs Rajshahi Kings at Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka, Nov 11 - 2017, Cricket highlights
It was the time for the reverse fixture between Rangpur Riders and Rajshahi Kings – a contest between two good sides with plenty of good players on either side; Mushfiqur Rahim, Ravi Bopara, Lasith Malinga, Mashrafe Mortaza... to name a few. But the stars of the day were Mominul Haque (63*) and Lendl Simmons (53), who stitched a fantastic opening partnership of 122 runs to guide Rajshahi Kings to a comprehensive 8-wicket win. By winning this match, they not only achieved their maiden win in this year's BPL, but also took the revenge of their loss to Rangpur Riders in Match 2 of the competition.
Both the teams had lost their previous matches and the Rajshahi Kings were yet to register a win under their belt. So it was imperative from both the teams’ perspective to win today’s match. The Kings drew the first blood as they reduced the Rangpur Riders to 33 for 3 at the end of 4 overs. It was the combination of Farhad Reza and Mehidy Hasan, who did the damage, with the former picking up 2 wickets in one over.
The Kings’ bowlers continued to bowl tight line and lengths and as a result, the Riders were only able to score 15 runs in the next 5 overs. Ravi Bopara and Shahriar Nafees also couldn’t afford to take too many risks as they had already lost three wickets. Mehidy Hasan, in particular, was simply brilliant. The off-spinner gave away just 19 runs in his four overs and also picked up the important wicket of Johnson Charles.
After no boundary was hit in those five overs, the pair managed to find one each in the next 4 overs. However, they also lost the wicket of Nafees with Kesrick Williams getting the batsman caught at long-on. Due to the fall of the wicket, the boundaries dried up again and runs started to come only in singles.
In the last 3 overs, Ravi Bopara (54*) managed to strike a few lusty blows as he helped Rangpur Riders to finish with 134 runs on the board. Considering that they were reeling at 100 for 5 at the end of 17 overs, this was a pretty good recovery from Riders’ point of view.
Even though the target was not a big one, the Kings’ openers needed to make sure that their team was off to a good start. They took their time initially – scoring only 11 runs off the first 3 overs – but as soon as they got the measure of the pitch, the runs started to come thick and fast. The next couple of overs saw Rajshahi score 25 runs, 15 of which came off the willow of Lendl Simmons.
In the last over of the powerplay, Mominul Haque too joined in the act and smashed the opposition team’s captain for a six and a four. The pair brought up the fifty-run partnership in just 6.2 overs and had given their team a perfect start to the run-chase.
Runs came at a good pace even after the end of the powerplay and it was Mominul, who outscored his partner by scoring at a strike-rate of 140. It was surprising that Mortaza didn’t bring Bopara – who picked up a couple of crucial wickets against Vikings – into the attack up until the 10th over. But this time around, even Bopara couldn’t provide a breakthrough as the opening pair cruised along and stretched their partnership to 100 runs.
Mominul Haque was simply unstoppable as he dealt in boundaries and brought up his fifty with a huge six on the bowling of Malinga. A couple of overs later, Simmons too completed his half-century. Now, it was just a matter of time before the Kings registered their first win in BPL 2017.
Just when it looked like both the openers will remain unbeaten and finish off the chase, Simmons was run out by some brilliant piece of fielding from Thisara Perera. In the very same over, Perera cleaned up Malcolm Waller with a pitch-perfect yorker. But it was all too late for Rangpur Riders as the Kings needed only 7 more runs to win the match. The new batsman, in Rony Talukdar, finished off the match in style by smashing a couple of boundaries as Rajshahi Kings won the match by 8 wickets.