Gurbaz, Rossouw power Khulna .

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Fifties from opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Rilee Rossouw helped Khulna Tigers romp to an eight-wicket victory over Chattogram Challengers during their Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BBPL) encounter under the lights at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.

It was Afghan opener Gurbaz who had set the tone for such a dominating win. The 18-year-old gave Khulna a blistering start as he smashed five maximums and four boundaries on his way to scoring 50 off just 19 balls before being dismissed in the sixth over.

Gurbaz had unsettled the Chattogram bowling line-up, forcing them to use seven different bowlers. After Gurbaz’s dismissal, Rossouw and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim carried on the boundary fest as they smashed Chattogram’s bowlers all around the park during an unbeaten 72-run third-wicket stand off just 47 balls. Rossouw and Mushfiqur took the team home with 6.1 overs to spare, scoring 64 off 38 balls and 28 off 22 balls respectively.  

Earlier, Chattogram Challengers managed to score a modest 144 for six after being asked to bat. However, Chattogram’s decent start was dented by Khulna’s Shafiul Islam when the right-arm pacer removed the dangerous-looking West Indian Lendl Simmons in the seventh over. The right-handed opener, who had just struck Shafiul for a six over long on, tried to take on the bowler in the following delivery by going down the track but only saw his stumps being rattled after he had dragged the ball onto his stumps and had to depart after a promising 23-ball 26, featuring two fours and as many sixes.

However, it was two run-outs that changed the momentum. Imrul Kayes, who played a match-winning knock in Chattogram’s opening fixture against Sylhet Thunder the previous day, fell short after he tried to sneak a double in the 11th over. Chattogram’s wicketkeeper-batsman Nurul Hasan fell in the same manner, leaving the team reeling at 101 for four in 16 overs. A late cameo of 14-ball 29 from Muktar Ali helped Chattogram get past the 140 mark.

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