BANGLADESH PREMIER LEAGUE, 2017
Cricbuzz Staff •
Mominul Haque’s unbeaten 63 helped Kings to open their account in the Bangladesh Premier League © Getty
Half-centuries from opener Mominul Haque and Lendl Simmons helped Rajshahi Kings finally get off the mark in Bangladesh Premier League 2017 courtesy a thumping eight-wicket win over Rangpur Riders at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.
Opting to bat did not prove to be a wise decision as a top-order collapse restricted Riders right from the onset. Ravi Bopara resurrected the innings with an unbeaten 54 to guide his side to a fighting total of 134 from their allotted overs but that didn’t prove sufficient in front of the Kings’ openers who polished off most of the target in a 122-run stand to put the team on course for their first win of the season.
Johnson Charles lasted three deliveries as Mehidy Hasan gave Kings a breakthrough in the very first over. Riders’ wicketkeeper-bat Mohammad Mithun threatened to sway the momentum with his brief cameo before Farhad Reza struck a double blow in three deliveries. Riders never successfully recovered from the early losses but the 49-run partnership between Bopara and Shahriar Nafees did lend some respectability to their total.
While Nafees played a sedate innings for 23, Bopara switched gears late in the day, and after having lost two partners in quick succession. The last three overs yielded 34 runs with Bopara reaching his fifty with a four in the final over.
With a fairly easy target of 135 ahead of them, Mominul and Simmons took about three overs to get their eye in. Lasith Malinga then came under attack, leaking 14 runs in the fourth over. And from there on, there was no looking back. While Simmons dealt in boundaries, Mominul joined the party in the sixth over to slam a six and a boundary off Mashrafe Mortaza and finish with a strong 48 for no loss in their powerplay overs.
The pair continued their slam-bang game even after the field was spread. Malinga came back into the attack in the 13th over and was greeted a six by both batsmen. Simmons raised the 100 of the partnership with the fourth ball of the over, immediately after which Mominul brought up his fifty in style with the hit for maximum runs.
Simmons brought up his half-century off Ziaur Rahman in the 15th over but was run out soon after, bringing the 122-run opening stand to an end. Thisara Perera got the wicket, and another one two balls later, but it was too late in the day. Mominul finished with an unbeaten 63 and Rony Talukdar hit the winning runs with eight wickets and 20 balls still to spare.
Brief scores: Rangpur Riders 134/5 in 20 overs (Ravi Bopara 54*, Shahriar Nafees 23; Farhad Reza 2-28) lost to Rajshahi Kings 138/3 in 16.4 overs (Mominul Haque 63*, Lendl Simmons 53; Thisara Perera 1-12) by eight wickets.