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|Mohammad Zakir Hasan||42||36||2||1||116.67|
|RN ten Doeschate||14||10||1||1||140.00|
Bangladesh Premier League gave a fresh dose of excitement to the fans after showcasing a string of humdrum, one-sided affairs in the first few days as we witnessed two thrillers of contests on the same day. In the first of the day, Dhaka Dynamites prevailed over Rangpur Riders in a topsy-turvy encounter by just two runs. In the evening game of the day, we saw Shahid Afridi roll back the years as Victorians defeated Rajshahi Kings by five wickets. Rajshahi Kings and Rangpur Riders, the two teams which ended up on the wrong side of the result in their respective matches are set to lock horns on 13th January at Dhaka. Rajshahi Kings are languishing at the second last position in the points table, but a win could take them in the top half and that is what they'll be aiming for.
Who would have thought that the team consisting of one of the finest T20 batsmen will end up losing their first two BPL matches? Not many. However, they've lost two games in four matches and although they're still at the second spot in the points table, they need to switch it on rather quickly.
They've had a strange kind of campaign so far where they've emerged victorious comprehensively in a couple of games and have also lost where they should have cruised. Their last game, against Dhaka Dynamites, was one such encounter where they should have cruised to the target after being in a position to dictate terms at one stage.
In a match which had a multitude of twists and turns, Rangpur Riders were set a target of 184. They were cruising at one stage at 146 for two in the 16th over before Aliss Islam derailed their chase first by castling Rilee Rossouw and then by picking up Mohammad Mithun, Mashrafe Mortaza, and Farhad Reza on consecutive deliveries to notch only the third hat-trick in the history of Big Bash League.
After the early loss of Chris Gayle, Rilee Rossouw continued to build on his excellent run in the tournament as he stitched together a brilliant 121-run stand with Mohammad Mithun. The partnership brought them within the touching distance of a win, but their middle order just could not carry on as they fell short by a couple of runs.
Earlier with the ball, the Riders had Dynamites on the mat with a score of 64 for 4. However, thanks to some incredible hitting coupled with some ordinary bowling from Rangpur bowlers, they managed to score 183 which eventually proved to be too much to chase.
Chris Gayle, Rilee Rossouw, Mohammad Mithun, RS Bopara, Benny Howell, Nahidul Islam, Farhad Reza, Mashrafe Mortaza, S Gazi, Shafiul Islam, Nazmul Islam.
Rajshahi Kings clearly haven't played to their potential and their position in the bottom half of the points table reflects that. They've lost two games in a total of three matches played with only one of those going down to the wire.
One thing which has been common in all the matches that the Kings have played so far is their failing batting lineup. It wasn't any different in the last game as well, against Comilla Victorians, where Shahid Afridi rolled back the time to rock Rajshahi Kings with three wickets.
Rajshahi Kings never looked in the game as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals which began as early as in the third over of the day. Barring Mehidy Hasan Miraz, none of their batsmen looked at home. The next best batsman was Zakir Hasan who played well for his 27. No real contribution from anyone meant that they could only reach 124, something which needed extraordinary bowling to defend.
Anamul Haque and Evin Lewis washed away all dreams of Rajshahi Kings defending this total as they stitched together an opening partnership of 65. Kings bounced back with four quick wickets towards the back-end of the chase, but it proved to be too little too late as Comilla Victorians chased the total with five wickets in hand and eight balls to spare.
Mominul Haque, Mehidy Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Hafeez, RN ten Doeschate, Zakir Hasan, Laurie Evans, A Sunny, Kamrul Islam, Isuru Udana, Mustafizur Rahman.
Rangpur Riders are one of the heaviest batting sides in the tournament with the likes of Chris Gayle, Rilee Rossouw, and Mohammad Mithun available at their disposal. The Kings, on the other hand, haven't really been the best with the bat. It's going to be a battle between Kings' bowling and Riders' batting. It's going to be extremely tough for Kings' bowling to stop Rangpur Riders' batsmen who looked in excellent form in the last match. Rangpur Riders certainly go in as favorites to win the upcoming match.
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