Kings relieved after first winStaff Correspondent
Underperforming Chittagong Kings heaved a sigh of relief when they beat Barisal Burners by 21 runs to record their first win in the second edition of the Bangladesh Premier League in Khulna on Thursday.
Kings, the most expensively-assembled BPL franchise, who have one of the best teams on pen and paper, were under immense pressure to deliver after they lost their opening two matches.
Both of their first two matches were low-scoring games and things were no different in the third match as well when they put just 129 runs on the board at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium.
But their bowlers somehow kept their composure to restrict Burners to 108-9, which eased off the pressure on them before they travel to home city Chittagong for their next match.
‘The team are now very relieved,’ said Ravi Bopara, the man of the match, with 38 off 29 balls and one wicket. ‘When you got such a good side on paper, you’re expected to win, everybody expects you to win.
‘The coaches, the other teams…When you don’t perform in the first two games, there’s a lot of pressure on you as a team to come good and today we played well.
‘We didn’t bat the way we’d wanted to. We wanted to get 150 on this wicket. But with 130  on the board, we felt that with our bowlers there was enough to make a game of it,’ said Bopara.
Brad Hodge led Burners again from the front but there was no one else to give some support and as a result they lost their third game in four matches to stay just ahead of Khulna Royals Bengals in the points table.
Apart from Hodge, who scored 34 from 25 balls before Enamul Haque Jr, Kings best bowler with 2-12, dragged him out of the crease for a stumping, only two Burners batsmen – Alok Kapali (12) and Shafiul Islam ( 10 not out) – could reach the double figures.
When on 25, Hodge became the first batsman to reach 5,000 runs in the Twenty20 format, playing 171 matches domestically and internationally, but it did not bring any celebration from the Australian.
Kings made two changes to their line-up that lost to Rangpur Riders in their previous match, bringing on Kevon Cooper and Rayan ten Doeschate for Shaun Tait and Jason Roy and the decision paid off with both of them enjoying some kind of success.
West Indies all-rounder Cooper took the wickets of Joe Denly and Azahar Mahmud while Dutchman Doeschate defied the low and slow wicket to score 23 from 19 balls.
Bopara opened the innings with Naeem Islam and the duo gave the side a reasonable start with a 52-run partnership. Naeem started off slowly but was perhaps inspired by Bopara – who struck left-arm spinner Nazmul Hossain Apu for four fours in one over – he picked up some momentum to score 19 from 20 balls with three fours.
Kings will play their next match against Sylhet Royals at their home city on Monday.
Chittagong Kings 129-7 in 20 overs (R Bopara 38, RN ten Doeschate 23, N Islam 19, J Oram 18; A Mahmood 2-22, S Islam 2-12) v Barisal Burners 108-9 in 20 overs (B Hodge 34, A Kapali 12; Enamul Haque Jr 2-12, K Cooper 2-18).
Result: Chittagong Kings won by 21 runs.
Man of the match: R Bopara (CK)
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