Royals reach play-offs .

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Rajshahi Royals became the second team to confirm their place in the play-offs of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BBPL) with a six-wicket win against bottom-placed Sylhet Thunder under lights at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium in Sylhet yesterday.

The disappointment for Sylhet Thunder continued as the home side suffered a 10th defeat in 11 matches, failing to defend a modest 143-run for six total.

Both the sides were however missing their regular captains. Sylhet skipper Mosaddek Hossain suffered a grade-2 tear just below his neck in their match against Rangpur Rangers on December 30 in Dhaka. The all-rounder, who missed the whole Sylhet-phase, returned to Dhaka yesterday [Saturday]. He is currently under the supervision of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) chief physician Debashish Chowdhury and has been advised to rest for nearly a month, informed the Sylhet Thunder team management. Meanwhile, Andre Russell, Rajshahi Royals’ regular skipper, also missed out yesterday’s game due to an injury that he picked up during the second Dhaka-phase.

Going back to yesterday’s clash, chasing a modest 143 for six, Rajshahi had a blistering start as Liton Das and Afif Hossain strung together a 59-run opening stand before Liton was dismissed for a 20-ball 36 in the sixth over. Afif, totally unfazed by his partner’s dismissal, continued to play a brilliant 30-ball 46. Although Afif fell to a run-out in the 11th over, stand-in skipper Shoaib Malik’s 22-ball 27 in the middle ensured Rajshahi coasted to victory with 29 balls to spare.

Earlier, after electing to bat, Sylhet had a rather slow start with stand-in skipper Andre Fletcher playing a slow-paced 33-ball 25 before falling to a run-out in the 13th over. However, thanks to a 38-ball 47 from Mohammad Mithun and another 11-ball 25 from Sherfane Rutherford in the middle, Sylhet were able to put up a modest total. Rajshahi employed as many as eight different bowlers on the day, perhaps trying to outfox the opposition with the variety in store.

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