Fast bowlers Hasan Mahmud and Azmatullah Omarzai shared six wickets as Rangpur Riders romped to a six-wicket win over Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) table topper Sylhet Strikers at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Friday.
Playing their first match at their home venue, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's side was restricted to 92-9, a total that Rangpur overhauled comfortably with 93-4 in 15.4 overs.
Things looked ominous for Sylhet after they were slumped to 18-7, raising a prospect to be bowled out for BPL lowest, which is 44 by Khulna Titans in 2016.
Mashrafe and youngster Tanzim Hasan Sakib combined for a 48-run for the eighth wicket to save them from ultimate blushes.
Tanzim Sakib made team-high 41 off 36 with five fours and two sixes while Mashrafe's run-a-ball-21 was studded with two sixes. No other batters however could reach double digit mark.
Offspinner Mahedi Hasan snapped up 2-12 o complement Afghan recruit Omarzai (3-17) and Hasan Mahmud (3-12). Omarzai drew the blood first, removing Tom Moores for 2 and then got the prized scalp of Towhid Hridoy, trapping him leg-before for duck.
Mahedi got into act with the wicket of Najmul Hossain Shanto (9) and Zakir Hasan 0) to rattle the top-order of Sylhet. However the thing got worsened when Hasan Mahmud ripped through their middle order, making Rangpur clearly favourite to win the game.
Sakib and Mashrafe's partnership helped the side at least go close to 100 runs mark but Sylhet knew it won't be enough to defend.
Rangpur get a moderate start through Naim Sheikh and Rony Talukdar who shared 27 runs before pacer Rejaur Rahman Raja broke through with the wicket of former who made 18.
Rony however remained unbeaten on 41 and left the ground after helping side win the game. He hit two fours and as many sixes in his 38-ball-knock.
While Rony remained undeterred in one end, Sylhet captain Mashrafe sparked a mini collapse, taking out Mahedi Hasan (8) and Shoaib Malik in consecutive deliveries. But Mohammad Nawaz accompanied Rony with 18 not out as Rangpur earned their fourth victory and placed them in fourth spot in the point table without further trouble.
Sylhet still are in the top of the table with 12 points from eight matches despite conceding their only second defeat in the tournament.