Powered by a blistering knock from Luke Ronchi and a three-wicket over from fast bowler Taskin Ahmed, Chittagong Vikings sealed their first success of the Bangladesh Premier League's fifth edition with an 11-run win over Rangpur Riders at the Sylhet International Stadium yesterday.
Riders were hurtling towards the target of 167, needing another 65 from 48 balls with seven wickets in hand until Taskin picked up the well-set Shahriar Nafees on 26 off 23 balls with a fast yorker and followed that by removing Samiullah Shenwari off the next ball.
On the hattrick delivery Taskin was able to get his foot onto a straight drive from Thisara Perera and the ball crashed into the stumps at the bowler's end with Ravi Bopara out of his crease. The fast bowler had a performed poorly in the recently concluded South Africa tour and will surely gain some confidence from figures of three for 31 from his four overs. English medium pacer Luis Reece also bowled his slowers with great effect and picked up two for 26 from his four overs.
Bopara's 38 off 32 balls with three fours and a six was the highest score while Mohammad Mithun added 23.
Lasith Malinga and Sohag Gazi kept the Riders in the game but fast bowler Subhasish Roy made sure the Vikings register the win, giving away just four runs when Rangpur needed 16 in the final over.
Riders had started poorly as they lost Johnson Charles (1) who was trapped leg-before by left-arm spinner Sunzamul Islam in the first over, while Ziaur Rahman was dismissed after scoring 11.
But the moment of the day was perhaps the fight between Rangpur skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Subhashis in the 17th over as both cricketers engaged in a verbal clash after the bowler motioned as if to throw the ball back at the batsman and Mashrafe reacted by gesturing towards Subhasish to go back to his mark.
Earlier, Ronchi once again provided a flying start for Chittagong after being asked to bat. He struck two sixes in the very first over off Mashrafe. He reserved his harshest punishment for left arm spinner Nazmul Islam, whose first over contained three sixes off Ronchi's bat and cost 23 as Chittagong reached fifty in 3.1 overs -- the fastest team fifty in the history of the BPL. Soumya Sarkar, however, failed to make an impact as he was dismissed for seven.
Ronchi reached his fifty in just 19 balls and continued to dominate until he was undone by a slower delivery from Bopara after scoring a 35-ball 78 studded with seven sixes and as many fours.
But Chittagong, cruising on 100 for two in the ninth over when Ronchi left, were unable to cash in on the platform and added just 66 runs in the next 11.1 overs.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq's 31 not out off 32 balls and Dilshan Munaweera's 17-ball 21 were the other notable performances.