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An unbeaten 180-run third-wicket partnership of AB de Villiers (100) and Alex Hales (85) sailed Rangpur Riders through Dhaka Dynamites’ challenge as the holders routed them by comprehensive eight wickets with 10 balls to spare in the fairly-contested high-scoring thriller of the Bangladesh Premier league at the sold-out Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram yesterday. - A home for your website

By virtue of winning the fixture, Rangpur Riders took their sweet revenge of the first leg defeat and climbed to the pole position of the BPL points-table with 12 points, leapfrogging Dynamites, Chittagong Vikings and Comilla Victorians. Though they chalked up the identical 12 points with Victorians, they were ahead due to a

better net run-rate. They have 0.686 net run-rate, while Victorians 0.441.

Rangpur Riders began the 187-run chase with their mighty firepower top-order, but went back foot after losing Chris Gayle, who is yet to make big innings and in-form Rilee Roussouw in two successive deliveries of the second over.

Andre Russell was the pick, who made a possibility of hat-trick but they could not capitalize their initial success as AB de Villiers and Alex Hales handled their bowlers in the right way.

They broke the hurdles of the Dynamites bowling attack in disdainful manner and sent them over the ropes almost every over. They put up 63 runs in their powerplay.

De Villiers, dubbed Mr 360 degree for his hitting ability from all the angles, brought up his fifty from 24 balls with a massive six and then went on to smash hundred off 50 balls. This was Villiers’ first century on BPL debut. He slammed hundred as l2th batsman. So far 17 centuries have been produced in BPL since its inception in 2012.

The South African great, who retired international cricket from all the three formats, pounded half-a-dozen sixes and eight boundaries in his 50-ball unbeaten knock and adjudged player of the match for his eye-catching performance.

Hales, who blasted century in the last match against Chittagong Vikings, followed Villiers and notched up his fifty off 33 balls with a boundary. He clobbered the winning boundary to slot the team home with 10 balls to spare and 15 runs away from his second ton. His classy 53-ball 85 was littered with three sixes and eight fours.

Medium fast-bowler Andre Russell took both the fallen wickets for Dynamites.

Earlier, Dhaka Dynamites skipper Shakib Al Hasan decided to bat first after winning the flip on batting-friendly surface with a view to construct a good total on the board so that they could put pressure more on the fire-power of Rangpur Riders’ steely top-order that boasted in-form Rilee Rossouw, Alex Hales, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle.

But the way Rangpur Riders’ batsmen especially Rossouw and Hales capitalized their powerplay in the last match against Chittagong Vikings, Dynamites’ top-order didn’t replicate it in that vein as they took only nine runs in their initial three overs (2, 3 and 4) and later garnered 46 runs after the six-over power play.

Dhaka, in the meantime, lost their first wicket of Hazratullah Zazai, who went to drive for big hit but got the outside edge to the Riders’ keeper Mohammad Mithun. They lost their other opener Sunil Narine in the next over when West Indian spin all-rounder hit hard in the air down to long on, where Forhad Reza jumped up high to grab it on the second attempt.

Dynamites went a bit back foot for a while after losing two wickets in two consecutive overs. This time captain Shakib Al Hasan appeared at the crease and attempted to handle the batting fuss with Rony Talukdar.

Before breaking the stand, the duo hit a useful 54 for the third-wicket stand that surpassed the 100-run mark. Shakib played a whirlwind innings of 25 off 12 that featured four boundaries.

Mashrafe came to bowl his fourth over to clear Andre Russell and succeeded in his effort. The pacer made his first wicket to Russell, who started hitting six and four after arriving at the wickets. But his short stay was laced with a six and as many four in his eight-ball 14.

Mahrafe trapped Rony Talukdar lbw in the same over but he sought review against umpire’s lbw decision and that initially looked plumb, but the replay later suggested there was a spike from Ultra-Edge as the ball was far from the bat.

Getting a life on 44, Rony brought up his second fifty with a boundary but couldn’t capitalize on his second life as he was dislodged by fast-bowler Shafiul Islam while Dynamites were on 151 for five in 16 overs. Rony whacked 52 from 32 balls with the help of half-a-dozen fours and a six.

The title-aspirants could not gather many more runs from their last four overs due to dot balls along with their unwillingness to take precious singles. After losing Shuvagata Hom cheaply in the next over, Kieron Pollard in association with Nurul Hasan Sohan strived to extend the total further.

But they clubbed an unbeaten 31 that set a decent target of 187 for the Riders. Pollard remained indefatigable on 23-ball 37with five boundaries and a six with Sohan scoring three. Medium fast-bowler Forhad Reza picked up two wickets for the reigning champions.

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