BPL 2017, Match 23 Review: Ariful Haque wins it for Khulna Titans against Rajshahi Kings

With the help of this win, Khulna Titans have climbed up to the third spot in the points table with 9 points to their name, while Rajshahi Kings have slipped down further to rest at the penultimate bottom rung of the ladder.

Ariful Haque
Ariful Haque. (Photo Source: Twitter)

In what turned out to be a thriller of a match, Khulna Titans emerged victorious in a tightly contested battle with Rajshahi Kings. Ariful Haque was the man of the moment as he guided his team home with some swashbuckling batting. With the help of this win, Khulna have climbed up to the third spot in the points table with 9 points to their name, while the Kings have slipped down further to rest at the penultimate bottom rung of the ladder.

Having won the toss, Khulna captain Mahmudullah elected to bowl first at the Sher-e-Bangla International Stadium, Dhaka. The ideal result he would’ve expected out of it would’ve been to restrict the opposition to a minimal total and chase it down with a clinical approach. However, his plans went haywire as Rajshahi opener, Dwayne Smith smashed the ball all over the park at a mammoth strike rate of 172.22. Although his opening companion, Mominul Haque departed for a meagre individual score of 5, Smith carried on with his flamboyant batting to bring up 62 runs off just 36 runs.


The middle-order flailed miserably with both Daniel Bell-Drummond and Zakir Hasan getting out for ducks. Mushfiqur Rahim lent backbone to the team’s batting with a significant contribution of 55 runs, followed by a solid knock of 29* from James Franklin, taking Rajshahi’s total to a respectable 166/8 in the stipulated 20 overs. The pick of the bowlers among the Khulna ranks was Junaid Khan, who picked up 4 wickets while conceding just 27 runs in his quota of 4 overs. Pacer Abu Jayed and off-break bowler, Afif Hossain picked up 3 wickets between themselves to help the team’s cause.

Ariful Haque’s mind-boggling innings

In reply to Rajshahi’s innings, Khulna had anything but the dream start. The very first over marked the departure of Chadwick Walton (4) as he played on off the bowling of Mohammad Sami. Wickets kept falling at regular intervals as Sami and Mehidy Hasan kept bowling in tandem to unsettle the batting team. Skipper Mahmadullah, however, held his end in a valiant effort and his 56 runs off 44 balls, which included 8 boundaries and a lone six.

It was in the 14th over that the scale tipped significantly in favour of the Rajshahi Kings as Hossain Ali dismissed the set batsman, Mahmudullah and initiated the subsequent tumble of dominoes. Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Brathwaite were picked up by Smith and Franklin in consecutive overs, knocking the winds out of Khulna’s sails.

Most would’ve expected Khulna to be down and out of the game at this point in the match and they might as well would’ve been so, had it not been for the stunning innings from young, Ariful Haque. He slammed 2 towering sixes, accompanied by 4 boundaries to add 43 runs to his team’s cause off just 19 balls.

The 18th over of the second innings witnessed Hossain Ali take a beating off the bat of Haque as the latter scored 18 runs off the 6 deliveries to give his team a fighting chance. A match that had looked yards away from the grasp of Khulna, Haque won single-handedly for his team with 4 balls to spare and 2 wickets remaining. Sami bowled well for Rajshahi by picking up 3 wickets at an economy of 7.2, but that wasn’t enough to stop Khulna Titans from stealing the match away.

Brief Scores:

Rajshahi Kings- 166/8 in 20 overs (Dwayne Smith 62, Mushfiqur Rahim 55; Junaid Khan 4/27)

Khulna Titans- 168/8 in 19.2 overs (Mahmudullah 56, Ariful Haque 43*; Mohammad Sami 3/29)