Mashrafe shines in clash of Giants to script Rangpur’s first victory
|| CF Correspondent ||
Skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza produced his career-best T20 figure as Rangpur Riders prevailed in low-scoring game to register their first victory as they thrashed Comilla Victorians by nine-wicket on Tuesday at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Mashrafe recorded an envious bowling figure- 4-1-11-4—against a batting line up bolstered with the likes of one of the best two batsmen in the world—Steven Smith, slow-pitch expert Tamim Iqbal and power-hitter Evin Lewis.
All of those three were the part of Mashrafe’s four-wicket haul as the ODI skipper of Bangladesh who is believed to be the twilight of his career preyed them in the first power-play to resist Comilla’s ambition of scoring a hefty total. Comilla Victorians were finally shot out for 63 in 16.2 over, which was the fourth lowest total in BPL history. And Rangpur overhauled the target, making 67 for one in 12 overs.
Coming up with an exquisite show of slower and off-cutter, the two big weapons to thrive in this sort of slow wicket, Mashrafe ripped through Comilla’s power-packed batting line up in a straight four overs in the first power-play.
Barring Shoaib Malik, Mashrafe removed all four top order batsmen, as Victorians were five down for 18 in seventh overs.
Firstly he induced Tamim (4) to an expensive drive with a sly slower and then dealt a double blow outfoxing Imrul Kayes (2) and dangerman Evin Lewsi (8) with a beautiful off-cutter.
The way Lewis gained the momentum, it gave an indication of a storm but the off-cutter was too tough to negotiate, leaving Lewis in a state of disbelief for a moment.
Steven Smith was fooled by a slower to be out for naught as Mashrafe finished his bowling quota. This was the former Australian captain’s second failure with bat, after scoring just 16 in the first match.
While Mashrafe was on song, Shafiul Islam took the wicket of Shoaib Malik for 0.
With 18 for five, Comilla looked on course of breaking the lowest score of BPL. The previous lowest 40 by Khulna Titans was also inflicted by Rangpur Riders in 2016.
Shahid Afridi rescued them from the ultimate shamble, hitting 18 ball-25 with three fours and one six and was the only batsman of the side to reach double digit figure. Nazmul Islam Apu finished with three for 20 while Shafiul Islam had figures of two for eight.
Chris Gayle played his first match in this season, having missed the Rangpur’s last match for not getting a NOC in time. However he failed to provide the entertain that the small group of spectators in the stadium expected.
Fast bowler Abu Haider Rony removed him for one but Mehedi Maruf (36 not out) and Rilee Rossouw (20 not out) sailed the side home without further hiccup with the former ensuring the victory with a cut past cover for four.
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