Sports Reporter : Khulna Tigers reached the final of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BBPL) defeating Rajshahi Royals by 27 runs in the first Qualifier of their Twenty20 cricket match at the flood-lit Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in the city's Mirpur on Monday. Sent into bat first, Khulna Tigers piled up a fighting total of 158 for the loss of three wickets in the allotted 20 overs and then bundled out Rajshahi Royals for 131 off 20 overs.
Mohammad Amir played the key role to wrap up Rajshahi innings. Amir captured six wickets at the cost of 17 runs. He was adjudged the Man of the Match. Mehidy Hasan Miraz was the other successful bowler for Khulna Tigers who claimed two wickets for six runs. Khulna Tigers faced an early debacle as they lost two wickets for 15 runs. Then opener Najmul Hossain Shanto and second-down Shamsur Rahman mended the innings adding together 78 runs for the third wicket partnership before Shamsur Rahman was caught by Andre Russell off Ravi Bopara when Khulna's total was 93 for the loss of three wickets. Najmul Hossain Shanto remained unbeaten with 78. His 57-ball terrific innings was decorated with four sixes and seven fours. After Shamsur Rahman's departure, Shanto and Mushfiqur Rahim contributed together 42 runs before Mushfiqur Rahim retired hurt when Khulna's score was 135. Shamsur Rahman made 32 from 31 balls featuring two fours and a sixer. Mushfiqur Rahim scored 21. Mohammad Irfan of Rajshahi Royals bagged two wickets at the cost of 13 runs, while Ravi Bopara took one wicket for 24 runs. Later, Rajshahi Royals faced an early disaster as they lost their six wickets for 33 runs. Then Shoaib Malik and Taijul Islam added together 74 runs for the seventh wicket partnership before Taijul Islam (12) was caught by Robbie Frylinck off Mohammad Amir when Rajshahi's score was 107 for the loss of seven wickets. After three deliveries, Shoaib Malik was caught by substitute Rahmatullah Gurbaz off Mohammad Amir when Rajshahi's total was 111 for the loss of eight wickets. Shoaib Malik alone fought back against Khulna bowling attack making a windy 80. His 50-ball innings had 10 fours and four sixes.Â
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