Sikandar Raza's 95 lifts Chittagong from bottom place

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 position in the points table, 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 helped Chittagong to their mammoth 211 for 5, which was the highest total in this season of the BPL.

Raza slammed six sixes and nine fours in his 45-ball 95. He put on 68 runs for the fifth wicket with Najibullah Zadran after having added 73 runs for the fourth wicket with Stiaan van Zyl. All of this was courtesy Luke Ronchi’s cameo at the top, that gave the hosts a flying start.

Andre Fletcher – who scored 71 – threatened Chittagong till the 14th over but once he fell, the rest collapsed as well. Sylhet slipped from 123 for one to 144 for 7 in less than four overs, eventually finishing on 171 for 8.

Chittagong threaten to get away

Ronchi has been instrumental in giving Chittagong a quick start in almost every game and today was no different. H started off with a six over square-leg in the first over and hit a further six more fours 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 sets the stage with van Zyl

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 survived a dropped catch 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 perished in the 14th over, but by then Chittagong were already on 138.

Raza cuts loose

Raza and Najibullah kept the run-rate up in the last seven overs, but sixes started to come from the 18th over onwards when Raza slammed Hasan over cover and deep into the stands at midwicket. He then blasted Tim Bresnan high 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 on fire

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 maximum in the ninth over. He added another in the 14th over, a huge hit over midwicket off Taskin Ahmed.

Sylhet slump in a heap

But Taskin got his revenge 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 then removed Hasan and Bresnan in the 16th over, and suddenly Sylhet found their required-run rate reaching astronomical heights. By then, it was far too late for Sylhet to recovery in any manner, eventually finishing 40 runs short.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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