A composed half-century from Tamim Iqbal, complemented by a swashbuckling knock from Chris Gayle, powered Chittagong Vikings to a commanding 9-wicket win over Rangpur Riders in their Bangladesh Premier League 2016 match on Sunday.
Asked to field first in the mid-table clash, the Vikings restricted the Riders to a subpar 124 for 6, thanks to some accurate bowling from Taskin Ahmed (25-2) and Mohammad Nabi (2-31) at the death.
Playing his first match this edition, Gayle (40 off 26 balls) then paired up in a decisive 70-run opening stand with Tamim (62 not out) to put Chittagong in control at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur.
The duo began the chase on a cautious note but it was not long before they began to take the bowling apart with boundaries and sixes, much to the delight of the crowd who had been keenly waiting to see the West Indian in action.
The first six overs accounted for just 30 runs with Tamim looking dangerous. But the Caribbean masterblaster then joined the act and smashed two boundaries and four sixes as Chittagong added 40 in the next three overs.
Gayle fell skying a Shahid Afridi delivery but Tamim pressed on. He hammered spinner Arafat Sunny for two boundaries and a six in successive deliveries before putting Liam Dawson away for back-to-back fours to wrap things up in style with four overs to spare.
Earlier, Chittagong bowlers were miserly at the outset, conceding the first boundary in the fourth over.
Opener Soumya Sarkar, who topscored for Rangpur with 26, was looking good before pacer Subashis Roy had him caught. Taskin then went through the gates of Mohammad Shahzad (21) and Mohammad Mithun (12) in the 10th over to hurt the Riders.
After captain Naeem Islam retired hurt on 3, Nabi landed another blow with the scalps of Shahid Afridi (13) and Dawson (14) in the 16th over.
Rangpur then ran out of steam and failed to fire in the death overs in the face of some fine bowling from Nabi and Taskin.
The win lifted Chittagong to third past their opponents on 10 points from nine matches but Rangpur are level with them on points having played a match fewer.
Dhaka Dynamites, who beat Barisal Bulls by four wickets in the afternoon, lead the table with 12 points from nine matches, level on points with second-placed Khulna Titans but ahead on run rate, according to bdnews24.com. – bz