Ashraful powers GladiatorsStaff Correspondent
Mohammad Ashraful plundered a powerful half-century to show his value as holders Dhaka Gladiators crushed newcomers Rangpur Riders by 35 runs to post their second successive win in the Bangladesh Premier League on Saturday.
Sold for just $60,000 at the auction, much less than even many new young players, Ashraful appeared man on a mission to hit 73 from 47 balls taking Gladiators to 202-5, their second successive 200-plus total which was more than enough.
Nasir Hossain played an equally impressive innings of 80 runs facing just 49 balls, but unlike Ashraful he did not have enough support from other end and as a consequence Rangpur Riders suffered heavily.
Sakib al Hasan effectively sealed the contest when he had Nasir caught by Mosharraf Hossain at forward short-leg with Riders still needing 54 runs from 15 balls.
Riders, who made their BPL debut with this match, were finally restricted to 167-4 to start their journey in the glittering competition on a losing note.
Opting to bat first, Gladiators started their innings slowly scoring just 18 runs from their first three overs before Ashraful opened up, hitting Mohammad Sharif for two fours in the space of three balls.
Rangpur Riders were immediately back in the contest with Amit Majumder taking the wicket of Luke Wright, who made 22 from 16 balls before giving a catch to Nasir, who himself later bowled Anamul for 19.
Ashraful was, however, at his brilliant best hitting Tapash Baishya for two fours off successive balls before he swooped on Irish all-rounder Kevin O’Brien to take 18 runs from his one over.
His six off O’Brien in the first ball of the over flew into the gallery, which only reminded of an old Ashraful, who was a pale shadow of his brilliant past in the recent times.
Abdur Razzak dragged Ashraful out of his crease to deny him further glory, but his innings, adorned with eight fours and three sixes, had already given Gladiators a solid foundation.
Owais Shah (28 from 22 balls) and an unbeaten Joshua Cobb (34 off 17 balls) made good use of it to take Gladiators to a position which was difficult for any side to overtake.
Dhaka Gladiators 202-5 in 20 overs (M Ashraful 73, JJ Cobb 34, OA Shah 28, L Wright 22) v Rangpur Riders 167-4 in 20 overs (N Hossain 80, NJ O’Brien 40 not out; Sakib al Hasan 2-17).
Result: Dhaka Gladiators won by 35 runs.
Man of the match: M Ashraful (DG).
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