CHITTAGONG, Nov 24 (Agencies): Khulna Titans went to the top of the AKS Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 's points table with a tight nine-run win over Rangpur Riders at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium here on Friday.
Chasing Khulna's 159-run target, Rangpur stumbled early as they lost their three top order batsmen-opener Chris Gayle (16), Brendon McCullum (2) and Mohammad Mithun (3).
Khulna over-rode a 100-run fifth-wicket stand between Ravi Bopara and Nahidul Islam that couldn't quite crack the whip in the last five overs of the chase.
Fifteen runs were needed off the final over, bowled by Junaid Khan. Bopara squeezed out a single off the first ball before Nahidul was run out off the next, having made 58 off 43 balls. Bopara took three runs off the next two balls. Junaid allowed a single off the fifth ball, which was the fifth yorker. Bopara was caught off the last ball with Afif Hossain taking a fine catch at long-on. Bopara made 59 off 44 balls with four boundaries and a six. Finally they were restricted at 149 for 6 in 20 overs.
Earlier, sent in to bat first, Khulna scored 158 for 8 in 20 overs spurred by skipper Mahmudullah Riyad's half century of 59 runs.
Mahmudullah faced 36 balls to fire six boundaries and two sixes before being caught by Nahidul Islam off Rubel Hossain with the team collection showing 130/5 in 16.4 overs.
Opener Nazmul Hossain Shanto hit run-a-ball 20 with three boundaries before he was caught by Rubel Hossain off skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza on 49/3 in 6.3 overs.
Nicholas Pooran and Ariful Haque scored 16 runs each while Rilee Rossouw and Carlos Brathwaite added 11 runs apiece. Number 8 batsman Jofra Archer stayed for unbeaten 10 runs to be another double digit scorer for the side.
Khulna suffered early jolt as Sohag Gazi and Rubel Hossain bowled out Rilee Rossouw and Afif Hossain in the innings 2nd and 3rd overs on Khulna's total of 14 and 24 runs respectively.
Rubel Hossain amused the local crowd at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium dismissing three wickets for 35 runs. Lasith Malinga got two wickets for 27 runs while Thisara Perera, Sohag Gazi and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza took one wicket each for 30, 30 and 32 runs respectively.
Mahmudullah of Khulna was named the player of the match for his impressive batting performance.