Russell fireworks put Dhaka in final

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Andre Russell

DHAKA, Bangladesh (CMC) — West Indies Twenty20 star Andre Russell showed once again he was worth his weight in gold, producing a tantalising all-round performance to power Dhaka Dynamites into the final of the Bangladesh Premier League with a five-wicket win over Chris Gayle’s Rangpur Riders here Wednesday.

Chasing 143 for victory at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dynamites reached their target with 20 balls to spare, with the right-handed Russell blasting five sixes in an unbeaten 40 off just 19 deliveries.

He had earlier snatched two for 31 as Riders could only muster 142 all out off 19.4 overs, after being sent in.

Englishman Ravi Bopara top-scored with a patient 49 off 43 balls while Mohammad Mithun chipped in with 38 and opener Nadif Chowdhury, a cameo 27 off 12 balls.

Chowdhury’s fireworks got Rangpur away quickly in a 42-run stand off 24 balls with Gayle, before both fell in successive deliveries in separate overs.

Gayle, who made 15 off 13 balls with two sixes, was second out in the fourth over, nicking a tentative push at seamer Rubel Hossain (4-23) to depart to a catch at the wicket.

When South African Rilee Roussouw fell to the very next ball, Rangpur were in tatters but Bopara and Mithun rescued the innings in a 64-run, fourth wicket stand.

Russell’s two wickets came in the penultimate over of the innings when he removed Farhad Reza (2) and Shafiul Islam (0).

In reply, Dhaka lost Upul Tharanga cheaply for four in the first over but Sunil Narine, who had earlier finished wicket-less from four overs of off-spin, lashed three fours in 15 to add 37 for the second wicket with Rony Talukdar (35).

Narine perished in the fourth over, top-edging left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam to mid-wicket and though captain Shakib-al-Hasan (23) put on 34 for the third wicket with Talukdar, Dhaka lost a cluster of wickets to be 97 for five at the end of the 11th over.

Kieron Pollard fell for 14 after striking a four and a six, caught at the wicket off seamer Mashrafe Mortaza (2-32).

However, Russell quickly settled any doubt over the outcome, dominating a 50-run, unbroken sixth wicket stand with Nurul Hasan (seven not out), to see his side over the line.

Dhaka take on Evin Lewis’s Comilla Victorians in Friday’s final.

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