Getting a life on nine runs, Shanto went on to stay unbeaten on 78 and take Khulna to a fighting total.
Khulna Tigers have scored 158-3 against Rajshahi Royals in the first qualifier of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019-20.
Nazmul Hossain Shanto top-scored with 78 for Khulna but the batsman could have been out on only 9 as he was bowled off a Shoaib Malik no-ball and went on to punish Rajshahi for their costly mistake.
Winning the toss, Rajshahi skipper Andre Russell decided to field first. Both the teams remained unchanged as both were coming off wins.
Put into bat, Khulna were in early trouble as Mohammad Irfan struck twice to send back Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Rilee Rossouw in the third over. They could have been in even more trouble as Shanto, the last match's centurion, saw his stumps disturbed by Shoaib Malik but replays showed that Malik had overstepped and Shanto survived.
Getting a life, Shanto ensured to punish Rajshahi as he put up a 78-run stand with Shamsur Rahman to set up a solid platform for a late flourish before Ravi Bopara sent Shamsur back for 32. Shanto meanwhile, picked up his second consecutive fifty off 36 deliveries.
But Khulna were dealt a blow in the 19th over as Mushfiqur had to leave the field being retired hurt because of apparent cramp. But Najibullah Zadran and Shanto took 22 in the last over of Russell to take Khulna to 158-3. Shanto was unbeaten on 78 off 57 deliveries as Zadran stayed unbeaten on 12.