Chasing the target of 171 set by Rajshahi Royals, Khulna Tigers could only manage 149-8 as they saw their opponents clinch the BPL title.
Abu Jayed Rahi must be the most relieved man on the planet right now. Because what the Sylhet-born man did, could have cost Rajshahi Royals a hefty price.
It was the sixth over when it happened. Rilee Rossouw, Khulna's prolific Protea, gave a simple catch to Rahi at cover off Shoaib Malik's bowling when he was only 18. Rahi takes the catch, Khulna are three down fighting an uphill battle.
But Rahi could not. Rahi managed to spill the souvenir and Rossouw, who surely had his heart in his mouth the previous instant, breathed a sigh of relief.
Despite getting that chance, Rossouw could not make it count as he was out for 37 and his dismissal created a domino effect as the whole Khulna Tigers batting lineup crumbled and despite they got close, they fell 21 runs short as Rajshahi Royals lifted the trophy of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019-20.
After put into bat, Rajshahi were struggling at the start of their innings but courtesy of a late flourish from Mohammad Nawaz and Andre Russell reached a fighting total of 170-4. The pair took 70 from the last five overs as Nawaz starred with scoring 41 off 20 deliveries.
Chasing 171, Khulna were off to the worst start possible as they lost both their openers, Nazmul Hossain Shanto and Mehidy Hasan Miraz within the second over. Shanto was caught brilliantly bu Liton Das off Mohammad Irfan before Miraz was caught at mid-off by Shoaib Malik off Abu Jayed Rahi.
Rilee Rossouw and Shamsur Rahman started to build from there as they milked runs easily. The situation could have worsened in the sixth over but Rahi managed to spill the golden opportunity to dismiss Rossouw. Rossouw gave a simple catch to Rahi at cover on 18 off Malik, but Rahi fumbled and saw the catch dropped.
Rossouw went on to put up a 74-run stand with Shamsur Rahman before Mohammad Nawaz struck to send the South African batsman back for 37. Rossouw, attempting to clear the long-on boundary, only managed to find Andre Russell at the boundary.
Shamsur went on to pick up his fifty off 38 deliveries before he was caught at the cover boundary as Afif Hossain took a good catch. Najibullah Zadran was given out in the same over but he saved himself with a review as replays showed a clear inside edge. But, Zadran could not build on his chance as he was gone the very next delivery as Kamrul Islam Rabbi picked up his second wicket of the over.
Khulna skipper and their most prolific batsman this BPL, Mushfiqur Rahim kept them in the chase but his counterpart Russell bowled a brilliant yorker to send Mushfiq back for 21. Irfan in the 19th over, killed the game off as he not only dismissed Robbie Frylinck but also gave away only one run.
Russell wrapped up the game in the last over giving away 8 runs and restricting Khulna to 149-8, ensuring a 21-run victory for the Royals.
Earlier, Rajshahi were struck with an early blow as Afif Hossain was caught brilliantly by Mehidy Hasan Miraz at short third man. Afif skewed up a short delivery from Mohammad Amir and Miraz, came running from point and took a diving catch to send the batsman back for 10.
Afif's opening partner Liton Das found it tough to get going but Irfan Shukkur at the other end milked runs to steady the Rajshahi ship. Their 49-run stand came to a close when Liton was sent back by Shahidul Islam for an uncharacteristic 25 off 28 deliveries.
Shoaib Malik was the next to go for 9 as Shanto took his second catch of the game off Robbie Frylinck before Irfan Shukkur picked up his fifty off 30 deliveries. This was Irfan's second fifty in T20s and his good show continued as he scored 45 in the previous match.
But Irfan was gone soon after his fifty for 52 as he was sent back by Amir. And what followed next, was absolute carnage. Andre Russell and Mohammad Nawaz put up a 71-run stand for the fifth wicket off just 34 deliveries as surprisingly, Nawaz was the more destructive one, outclassing his skipper. Russell was lucky to be unbeaten till the end as he was dropped by Shanto at extra cover when the Caribbean was only on 7.
Their stand took Rajshahi to 170-4 as they took 70 off the last five overs. Nawaz stayed unbeaten on 41 off 20 deliveries with Russell scoring 27 off 16 balls.