Fletcher impresses in Sixers' BPL loss
CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh, (CMC):
Andre Fletcher's second half-century of the Bangladesh Premier League was not enough to prevent Sylhet Sixers from their fifth defeat, as they went down by 40 runs to Chittagong Vikings here yesterday.
Chasing an imposing 212 for victory at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Sixers made a fist of it before eventually coming up short at 171 for eight off their 20 overs, with West Indies batsman Fletcher top-scoring with a whirlwind 71 off 48 deliveries.
Pakistan star Babar Azam chipped in with 41 from 32 balls while wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan got 28 but Taskin Ahmed (3-31) and fellow seamers Stiaan van Zyl (2-14) and Soumya Sarkar (2-17) all hurt the innings with incisive spells.
Requiring a hasty start, Sixers got exactly that as Fletcher put on 43 for the first wicket with Sri Lankan Danushka Gunathilaka (10) before adding a further 80 for the second wicket with Babar Azam.
Fletcher blasted eight fours and four sixes, while Babar struck two fours and a six in a partnership that threatened to steal the game.
However, once Fletcher holed out in the deep on the off-side off Taskin, the run chase dissipated as wickets fell steadily.
Vikings had earlier gotten a top score of 95 off 45 deliveries from Zimbabwean Sikandar Raza as the home side rattled up 211 for five off their 20 overs, after they were sent in.
New Zealander Luke Ronchi made 41 from 25 balls at the top of the order while van Zyl punched 40 from 26 deliveries.
FAILED TO FIRE
In the opening game, superstar opener Chris Gayle failed to fire and Rangpur Riders followed suit, slumping to a nine-run defeat to Carlos Brathwaite's Khulna Titans.
Set a target of 159, Riders ended on a 149 for six off their 20 overs, with the left-handed Gayle managing only 16.
There was enough time for him to belt two fours and a six before edging a booming drive at a wide ball from fast bowler Abu Jayed, and fall to a catch at the wicket by West Indies player Nicholas Pooran.
England's Ravi Bopara top-scored with 59 in a 100-run, fifth wicket stand with Nahidul Islam (58) which pulled their side around from 45 for four in the eighth over, and nearly secured victory.
Both Brathwaite and fellow Barbadian seamer Jofra Archer finished wicket-less from their four overs.
Titans had earlier posted 158 for eight off their 20 overs after being sent in, with captain Mahmudullah gathering 59 from 36 balls.
Pooran (16), Brathwaite (11) and Archer (10 not out) all failed to make any impression with the bat.