Gladiators in final after winning cliffhanger

February 16, 2013

Chris Gayle struck a powerful century but Dhaka Gladiators still suffered a scare before reaching their second consecutive final in the Bangladesh Premier League in Dhaka on Friday.
The holders beat Sylhet Royals by just four runs in a roller-coaster race-to-final despite Gayle making 114 from 51 balls to power them to 197-9 in their 20 overs.
Mushfiqur Rahim provided an answer to Gayle’s buccaneering batting and had nearly turned the table before his unexpected run-out for 86 from 44 balls in the last over did the damage.
Needing 24 runs in the dramatic last over, Elton Chigumbura hit two sixes in the first two balls and saw the bowler Mashrafee bin Murtaza bowl a wide and no-ball that took them in sight of an unexpected win.
After Mushfiq was run out Royals had still their chance when Roqibul Hasan dropped Chigumbura in the fifth ball to make the equation five runs in the last ball. But the Zimbabwean could only manage to give a catch to Darren Stevens in the last ball to end the game in heartbreak.
Royals have another chance left to book their place in the February 19 final as they will face the losers between Chittagong
Kings and Duronto Rajshahi in today’s first eliminator.
The bowlers had given Royals an upper hand by reducing Gladiators to 68-5 inside 10 overs, but Gayle changed everything with his sheer power that saw the holders plunder an astonishing 129 runs in the last 10 overs.
Royals had opened the bowling with Sohag Gazi and he bowled Tillakaratne Dilshan in the first ball and Mohammad Ashraful followed the Sri Lankan in the next over to make the scoreline 1-2.
Sakib, fresh from his third half-century on Thursday night against Kings, struck Sohag for four sixes to make 38 from 20 balls to give Gladiators some momentum, but his dismissal by Sajidul Islam seemed to have ruined their all hopes.
But Gayle was still there and he showed it again what he is capable of.
Gayle raced to his fifty from 36 balls, hitting Sohrawardi Shuvo for 24 in an over before giving Nazmul Hossain his worst nightmare. Gayle struck him for four consecutive sixes to close in on his third BPL century and the first this season in his very first appearance.
Paul Stirling missed a simple chance with Gayle on 97, the batsman’s only nervous moment, which came three balls before he completed his century in 46 balls.
Mohammad Nabi finally ended his onslaught as Sohag Gazi took the catch at deep square-leg and Gladiators could add just six runs in the remaining 10 balls after his departure.

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