Chittagong Vikings 211 for 5 (Raza 95, Rabbi 2-35) beat Sylhet Sixers (Fletcher 71, Taskin 3-31) by 40 runs
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Chittagong Vikings picked themselves up from the bottom of the points table by beating Sylhet Sixers by 40 runs in their first game at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, the team’s home venue. Sikandar Raza‘s superb hitting powered Chittagong to 211 for 5 – the highest total in this season of the BPL.
Raza slammed six sixes and nine fours in his 45-ball 95. He shared partnerships of 73 for the fourth wicket with Stiaan van Zyl and 68 for the fifth wicket with Najibullah Zadran. All that after Luke Ronchi’s cameo at the top gave the hosts a flying start.
Andre Fletcher threatened Chittagong for a large duration of the chase with a blistering 71, but Sylhet collapsed after his dismissal. They lost six wickets in less than four overs, slipping from 123 for 1 to 144 for 7 and eventually finishing on 171 for 8.
Ronchi sets Chittagong up
Ronchi has been instrumental in giving Chittagong a quick start in almost every game, and today was no different. He started off with a six over square-leg in the first over, and went on to hit six fours as well in his 25-ball 41.
But incoming batsmen Soumya Sarkar and Anamul Haque couldn’t quite match Ronchi as they fell for 1 and 3 respectively. By the time Ronchi was out in the eighth over, Chittagong were well-set for a big total.
Raza and van Zyl consolidate
Before Raza started his 45-ball blitz of 85 to get on top of the Sylhet attack, Stiaan van Zyl struck Taijul Islam for a six over midwicket very early. Raza, who was dropped in the 10th over, got into the act when he and van Zyl struck Nasir for one six each in the next over.
Raza then targeted Ghulam Mudassar and Abul Hasan for one six each – over extra cover and midwicket. Their 73-run partnership ended in the 14th over, but by then Chittagong were already on 138.
Raza tees off with a six-barrage
Raza and Najibullah kept the run-rate up in the last seven overs, but the sixes started to rain from the 18th over onwards when Raza slammed Hasan over cover and deep into the stands at midwicket. He then blasted Tim Bresnan over midwicket for his sixth six to move into the nineties, and his highest T20 score.
With five balls remaining, Raza sliced Kamrul Islam Rabbi into the hands of deep point, falling five short of a deserved century.
Fletcher keeps Sylhet in the hunt
Danushka Gunathilaka sounded out Sylhet’s intentions by hitting Sunzamul Islam for a straight six off the first ball of the chase. Fletcher took his cue and hammered Raza for two sixes in the next over – over extra cover and midwicket.
Fletcher upped his game in the next over when he hammered four consecutive boundaries, three through the offside and one straight down the ground, off Subashis Roy. Gunathilaka’s dismissal in the fifth over hardly mattered as Fletcher and Babar Azam made a smooth transition in their hitting.
Azam cracked Luis Reece for his first six over midwicket, before Fletcher hammered Tanbir Hayder straight for another six in the ninth over. He added another in the 14th over, a huge hit over midwicket off Taskin Ahmed.
Sylhet slump in a heap
Taskin, however, hit back when Raza took a great running catch from cover to remove the dangerous Fletcher for 71 in the 14th over. Van Zyl then took two wickets in the 15th. Soumya removed Hasan and Bresnan in the 16th over, and just like that, the required-run rate had hit astronomical heights. That proved too much for Sylhet to manage any sort of a recovery, and they finished well short of their target.