Kings stutter to semis

February 17, 2013

Chittagong Kings got the better of their nerve to beat Duronto Rajshahi by four wickets in the crucial eliminator setting up a semi-final contest against Sylhet Royals in the Bangladesh Premier League on Saturday.
Chasing a meagre target of 108 runs for victory, Kings looked extremely nervous when they lost five wickets in quick succession, but they somehow managed to overcome it to cruise to their target in 17.2 overs.
They will now face Royals today hoping to make their first BPL final having started their campaign in a stuttering way this season. They were unable to chase 99 runs against the same side in their opening match after losing three wickets in the last three balls to suffer an agonising two-run defeat.
Things were heading in the same direction despite they had 43 runs in their opening stand inside the first six overs. Naeem Islam Jr removed both openers Jason Roy (30) and Nurul Hasan (14) to bring Duronto back in the contest and Kings soon lost their way.
Mahmudullah, back at the helm after Brendan Taylor departed for home, gave a return catch to Muktar Ali while Ryan ten Doeschate was inexplicably stumped out by Sri Lankan Isuru Udana.
When Monir Hossain trapped Ariful Haque lbw and Kevon Cooper suffered a run-out in quest for an unnecessary single it looked like Kings would choke to defeat like they did in some matches early in the competition.
But Ravi Bopara, returning to the line-up after a long gap, kept his composure and guided Kings home with an unbeaten 34 off 30 balls, which included just three boundaries. Jacob Oram provided him some support to stay unbeaten on 10.
Young Under-19 pacer Taskin Ahmed set up the win with 4-31, which ripped the heart out of Duronto’s top-order to restrict them to 107-7. Charles Coventry struck Taskin for two fours and a six in his first three balls, but he came back strongly to uproot the Zimbabwean’s leg stump in the fourth ball.
Taskin, playing only his second game in the tournament, had Simon Katich out in the last ball of the same over and returned to bowl Jahirul Islam in the first ball of his next over, raising the prospect of a hat-trick.
Shaun Ervine denied him the feat, but the 18-year-old rookie added the wicket of Mukter Ali in his last spell to complete his most memorable match in the short career.
Duronto owed their total to Ervine, who was unbeaten on 47 to help them cross the 100-run mark.
Duronto Rajshahi 107-7 in 20 overs (S Ervine 47 not out, M Ali 18; T Ahmed 4-31, Mahmudullah 2-6) v Chittagong Kings 108-6 in 17.2 overs (R Bopara 34 not out, J Roy 30, J Oram 10 not out; Naeem Islam Jr 2-25).
Result: Chittagong Kings won by 4 wickets.
Man of the match: T Ahmed (CK)

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