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Liton, Rizwan shine in Cumilla’s narrow win

Pakistan recruit Mohammad Rizwan and Liton Das hit half-centuries as Cumilla Victorians recorded their fifth straight victory in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) with a slender four-run victory over Khulna Tigers at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

Rizwan top-scored with 54 while Liton made 50, steering Cumilla to a challenging 165-2 before their bowlers bowled in disciplined way to restrict Khulna to 161-6.

Liton who was key in rejuvenating the side after three defeats in a row in the first three matches, once again gave the side a fluent start after Khulna were asked to bat first.

His third 50 came off 41 balls with the help of nine boundaries but he fell to Nahidul Islam’s spin immediate after completing the feat. Liton’s dismissal broke the 65-run opening partnership between him and Rizwan who was
more inclined to keep his wicket intact, instead of charging the bowlers.

Johnson Charles took the charge and hit five sixes for his 22 ball-39 and combined for a 60-run for the second wicket with Rizwan.

Wahaz Riaz got the better of Charles as the Caribbean looked set for more carnage in the last powerplay.

Rizwan then came out from shell but still failed to rotate the scoreboard as it was expected. However, he remained not out of 54 after hitting four fours and one six.

Pakistan speedster Naseem Shah was the go to bowler of Cumilla with two for 29 runs. He trapped Tamim Iqbal leg-before 11 to give the side a good start and then in the penultimate over, took the key wicket of Shai Hope.

The Hope wicket was particularly vital at that moment as Khulna needed 25 runs in the last two overs with Hope striking the ball better than any other batters. Before his stump was rattled by Naseem, Hope made 33 off 32 with
three fours and one six.

Khulna thereafter was unable to go for big shot despite the presence of Captain Yasir Ali, who was eventually not out on 30 off 19 with three fours and one six. Yasir got the chance to play the captain’s knock as Khulna needed 17 runs off the last over. He though hit two boundaries in that over bowled by offspinner Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, could score just 12 runs.

Pacer Mustafizur Rahman who returned to the team and spinner Tanvir Islam, played their part well by bowling tight four overs. Both of them picked up one wicket with Mustafizur conceding just 15 and Tanvir giving away 19.

Opener Andy Balbirnie scored team-high 38 for Khulna who tasted their fifth defeat in eight matches and now placed in fifth position. Cumilla retained their third spot with 10 points from eight matches.