Darren-Sammy-cpl-getty
Sammy blazing cameo guided Rajshahi to 162. File Photo

After winning the toss, Rangpur Riders captain Naeem Islam invited Darren Sammy-led Rajshahi Kings to bat first. For that matter, it has been a trend in Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2016: win toss, bowl first. The track appeared dicey. The report suggested it would offer assistance to the batters. But as the match progressed, it appeared on the slower side. And the table-toppers Riders made full use of the conditions, as they removed the staggering Mominul Haque in the very first over. With Sabbir Rahman at the other end, Junaid Siddique added 47 for the second wicket off 32 balls. Full updates: Rangpur Riders vs Rajshahi Kings, Match 25, BPL 2016

Kings, by now, were in a commanding position. But Sabbir’s wicket turned the tables, for Riders contained the rampage, putting a lid on the runs. After 10 overs, the scorecard read 75 for 3. The game that belonged to Kings was gradually moving towards the Riders. It is a T20 spectacle after all. There’s bound to be a twist in the tale, and the momentum is likely to keep shifting. Besides, Riders put Kings in further trouble, sending half the side back into the pavilion. In came the talismanic captain Sammy, at 92 for 5 after 13.5 overs.

The onus was now on Umar Akmal and Sammy to take their team to a respectable total. The duo played well in tandem, so much so that they plundered 59 runs in the last 4 overs. Sammy stayed unbeaten on 44 off 18, inclusive of three fours and four sixes, posting a target of 163 for the in-form Riders.

As a matter of fact, Riders had the likes of Mohammad Shahzad, Nasir Jamshed, Soumya Sarkar, Liam Dawson, among others, who have a reputation of using the long hand to a blasting effect. As a result, looking at the might of their batting prowess, chasing 163 was not that tough a task.

Nonetheless, Kings’ bowling unit exhibited a disciplined bowling show, restricting Riders to 68 for 2 after 10.3 overs. At this point, both the openers were back in the dug-out.

To make matters worse, Nazmul Islam dismissed Sarkar with an absolute jaffa.

Now the responsibility of taking the team over the line was on Mohammad Mithun their go-to man at crucial junctures. But wickets kept tumbling at the other end. Be that as it may, nothing could stop Mithun from taking the opposition bowlers to the cleaners.

Against all the odds, he put up a good fight and scored unbeaten 64 off 36. All the same, as fate would have it, his team fell short by 12 runs.

Brief scores:

Rajshahi Kings 162 for 5 (Darren Sammy 44* (29), Umar Akmal 33* (30); Liam Dawson 2 for 15) beat Rangpur Riders 150 for 5 (Mohammad Mithun 64* (36), Nasir Jamshed 27 (28); Nazmul Islam 2 for 19) by 12 runs

(Kaustubh S. Mayekar, a reporter at CricketCountry, played cricket at U-16 level. Like his idol Rahul Dravid, he often shadow-practises cricket shots. His Twitter handle is @kaumedy_)