Mahmudullah steers Khulna into playoffs

Captain Mahmudullah Blasts 50 (28)

Khulna Titans, having to win their last league game to qualify for the playoffs, did so emphatically courtesy MAHMUDULLA’s half-century. They finished the group stages in second position to ensure the first qualifier against the same opponents on December 6. The eliminator will be played between Chittagong Vikings and Rajshahi Kings.

Khulna, having never gone past 157 in the tournament, had to make their highest team total. And against a weakened Dhaka side that rested Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell, they breezed to the target with 12 balls to spare.

It didn’t seem a cakewalk when they lost Andre Fletcher early. Mohammad Hasanuzzaman struck three sixes and as many fours in his 18-ball 40 to get them ahead of the asking rate. Mahmudullah then took over after Hasanuzzaman’s dismissal; he hit five fours and two sixes in his 28-ball 50. The trigger boost meant Abdul Mazid’s strike rate of 58.33, the lowest of the season for batsmen who have faced 35 or more deliveries, was negated.

Mahmudullah fell with Khulna needing eight, but with no pressure, they cantered home to dash the hopes of Rangpur Riders, who lost to Comilla Victorians earlier in the evening.

When Dhaka batted first, Kumar Sangakkara, reprieved on 2, brought up his second half-century of the tournament. The rest of the Dhaka batting line-up threw away starts with, with Mehedi Maruf, Nasir Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Seekkuge Prasanna and Ravi Bopara not going past 20. Junaid Khan picked up three wickets.

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