Rahmatullah Gurbaz became the second-fastest half-centurion in BPL history after reaching the mark off just 18 balls, helping Khulna Tigers a sensational start, that was a catalyst in their comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Chattogram Challengers.
After his start, Rilee Rossouw then held the key, with a sublime 38 ball-64 not out to help Khulna winning start to their Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BBPL) campaign on Thursday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur.
Afghanistan recruits Gurbaz however was dismissed in the next ball after completing his half-century as he played one shot too many against Muktar Ali whom he treated in disdain.
Before that he and Rossouw combined for 70 runs off just 32 balls for the second wickets to keep Chattogram in a good stead win the game.
Rossouw then completed to what looked inevitable as Khulna cantered to the victory by making 146-2 in just 13.5 overs, overhauling Chattogram’s 144-6.
It was Chattogram’s first defeat after winning first match against Sylhet Thunder by five wickets.
In a bid to defend their 144, Chattogram got a good start when left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed had opener Nazmul Hossain Shanto (4) stumped in the fourth ball of the innings.
The early fall of wicket didn’t dent the mood of Khulna as Gurbaz came up with whirlwind batting show to leave the bowlers in disarray state.
Gurbaz struck five sixes and four fours in a knock to hit the half-century in just 18 balls to become the second-fastest half-centurion in BPL history. Pakistan’s Ahmed Shehzad remains the record holder of the feat with 16 ball-50 in BPL history.
After the dismissal of Gurbaz, Rossouw took the onus and sailed the side home, sharing a 72-run partnership with captain Mushfiqur Rahim in an undefeated third-wicket stand.
Rossouw smashed seven fours and two sixes in the knock. Mushfiqur Rahim was not out on 28 off 22, sending the ball across the rope for four times.
Being sent to bat first, Chattogram Challengers fell in trouble but recovered through Muktar Ali.
Lower order batsman Muktar Ali was the top-scorer for the side with 14 ball-29 not out, which featured with four sixes. Muktar’s flashy knock gave Chattogram 51 runs in the last five overs, taking them to closer 150, which looked unlikely after their top-order’s failure to convert their innings to big one.
Opener Lendl Simmons scored 26 while Nasir Hossain chipped-in-with 24.
Robbie Frylinck, Shafiul Islam, Shahidul Islam and Aminul Islam Biplob took one wicket apiece for Khulna Tigers.