Mirpur – Andre Russell turned in a strong all-round performance, hitting 37 and taking four wickets, to help Khulna Royal Bengals beat Dhaka Gladiators by 19 runs. Chasing 176, Dhaka lost their way in the middle overs and in the end their star hitter Kieron Pollard ran out of partners. Khulna's highest stand was 71 for the third wicket between Dwayne Smith and Shakib Al Hasan. The left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain broke the partnership when he had Smith caught for 37. Shakib fell soon after, bowled by Naved-ul-Hasan. Russell entertained the crowd with two lusty blows over deep midwicket for six to propel Khulna to a score that was to test the Dhaka line-up.
Dhaka lost Imran Nazir early, but the stand of 45 between Azhar Mahmood and Nazimuddin kept them in the hunt. Russell struck as soon as he was brought on, getting Mahmood caught behind while trying to cut. When he bowled Mohammad Ashraful in the same over, the momentum had shifted. Darren Stevens and Pollard added a fighting 62 for the fifth wicket, but Dhaka couldn't quite keep up with the asking-rate. Russell added two more to his tally to seal the win for Khulna. Khulna Royal Bengal won the toss and elected to bat first. Chanderpual and Gibbs gave Khulna a steady start but Azhar Mahmood of Dhaka halted their brief stay by removing both of them. Dwayne Smith and Shakib Al Hasan then took over to build the platform of a fighting total. Shakib was fluent on the onside while Smith was cautiously aggressive. Both of them scripted a 71-run stand as Mosharrof Hossain and Rana Naved accounted for Smith and Shakib respectively and when Elias Sunny removed Milon, Khula were in threat of posting a fighting total. But Andre Russell and Nasir Hossain unleashed a tremendous launching power to bolster the Khulna total. Rana Naved was taken to the cleaners by Russell in the final overs while Nasir exhibited his raw power along with Russell’s savagery. Khulna posted 175 from a 5-116 in 16 overs. The Ruseel-Nasir pair brought up 59 in just 27 balls. – Agencies