BPL 4, Eliminator, Review: Sammy leads Rajshahi Kings to Qualifier in stunning turnaround against Vikings

BPL 4, Eliminator, Review: Sammy leads Rajshahi Kings to Qualifier in stunning turnaround against Vikings

Darren Sammy BPL
Darren Sammy. (Photo Source: BPL)

Dhaka was all set to host the first playoff of the BPL 4. It was the all-important Eliminator between the Chittagong Vikings and Rajshahi Kings. Both teams had similar fortunes in the tournament. The Vikings had a stunning start to the edition with a win over the defending champions. They lost their way midway but skipper Tamim Iqbal led from the front to get them back in the hunt.

Rajshahi had a shaky start too, with narrow defeats. They were also propelled by the heroics by their skipper Darren Sammy. Soon, they became a force to beat in the tournament. It all came down to the one last opportunity to stay alive in the tournament. A defeat would have meant a direct ouster. A win, on the other hand, would have given a spot in the Qualifier 2.

Coming into the match, it was Darren Sammy who had the luck with the toss. He opted to bowl first. He opted to make no changes to the playing eleven. Kesrick Williams, who bowled beautifully in the last game, retained his place. Afif Hossain also earned his spot in the lineup because of his sensational five-for recently. The Chittagong Vikings drafted in Dwayne Smith at the expense of Imran Khan in their line up. Clearly, Tamim Iqbal wanted to beef up the batting.

In a strange turn out of events, Chris Gayle did not open for the Chittagong Vikings. It was Dwayne Smith, who opened the innings with Tamim Iqbal. The move backfired big time as Smith was dismissed for a duck by Kesrick Williams in the 3rd over. Gayle came in at number 3. Tamim and Gayle then put on a brilliant display of class and power hitting.

Despite having just 39 runs in the powerplay, they did well to up the ante. They put on 74 runs in just 50 balls to bring the Vikings right back in the match. James Franklin was introduced in the attack and the kiwi struck early. He dismissed Gayle in the 11th over to bring Shoaib Malik to the crease. Gayle scored 44 off 30 balls with 2 fours and 5 towering maximums.

Malik could not do much and was sent back after scoring 14 off 12 balls by Farhad Reza. Meanwhile, Tamim brought up yet another half century in the season. Seeing Iqbal in total command, Sammy brought in Kesrick back to the attack. The pacer did exactly what the skipper needed. He managed to get Tamim caught by Samit Patel in the 17th over. Tamim’s 51 came off 46 balls with 6 fours.

The innings went like an inverse crescendo. Wickets fell in clusters. The last 50-odd runs saw 7 wickets go down. The likes of Mohammad Nabi and Anamul Haque failed to make contributions as Chittagong Vikings had to settle for 142/8 in their 20 overs. At one stage, when Gayle and Tamim were batting together, the innings looked cruising towards a mammoth score. Kesrick Williams was the star of the show. The West Indies pacer bagged 4/11 in his 4 overs.

Rajshahi Kings openers Nurul Hasan and Mominul Haque walked in to kick start the run chase. Make no mistake, the track did seem to have deteriorated. Subhasis Roy struck in the second over of the game to send Mominul back for just 4. Afif Hossain, the young pacer, was promoted to number 3 as a pinch hitter. All he managed to get was a golden duck. He was dismissed by Abdur Razzak.

Sabbir Rahman was the new man in. His miserable run in the second leg of the season continued. He became Roy’s second scalp of the day and perished after scoring 11. Hopes dwindled further for the Kings as Nabi cleaned up Samit Patel. Meanwhile, Nurul Hasan had looked good for his 28-ball 34. Saqlain Sajib was introduced in the attack and he struck soon. He got the better of Nurul in the 11th over and then dismissed Franklin too. The Kings struggled at 59/6 in 11 overs.

It was down to the old war horse Darren Sammy and Mehedi Hasan to get something in the chase. Hasan could not do much. But it was one man that made the difference between the two sides. Darren Sammy yet again was the main for Rajshahi Kings. He almost batted singlehandedly to win the game for the Kings. His unbeaten 55 off 27 balls with 7 fours and 2 sixes saw Rajshahi Kings win by 3 wickets with 9 balls to spare.

He was well supported by Farhad Reza, who scored an unbeaten 19 off 11 that included 3 sixes. The Kings will take on the loser of the match between Dhaka Dynamites and Khulna Titans in the second Qualifier.

Brief Scores:

Chittagong Vikings: 142/8 in 20 overs (Tamim 51, Gayle 44, Williams 4/11, Reza 2/26)

Rajshahi Kings: 143/7 in 18.3 overs (Sammy 55*, Nurul 34, Sajib 2/24, Roy 2/28)