Narine, Gayle hammer half-centuries in contrasting results

DHAKA, Bangladesh, CMC – Sunil Narine smashed an entertaining half-century but it was his West Indies teammate Chris Gayle’s first of the Bangladesh Premier League in only his second appearance that took the headlines, as it spurred Rangpur Riders to a seven-run victory over Sylhet Riders here yesterday.

While Narine’s 76 came in a losing effort for leaders Dhaka Dynamites, Gayle’s 50 was enough to see Riders to only their second win in five matches this season, to remain outside the playoff places.

Sunil Narine

Sent in at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in the opening game of the doubleheader, Riders rallied to 159 for seven, with the left-handed Gayle top-scoring and opening partner Brendon McCullum getting 33.

West Indies superstar Chris Gayle … struck a half-century in his second outing. (file photo)

Together, the pair gave Riders a rousing start of 80 off 52 balls, with Gayle slamming two fours and five sixes off 39 balls and New Zealander McCullum striking three fours and three sixes off 21 deliveries.

They perished within 13 balls of each other, with Gayle second to depart, bowled by seamer Abul Hasan hitting across the line in the 11th over.

England’s Ravi Bopara then solidified the innings with 28 off 12 balls while Mohammed Mithun chipped in with 25 off 21 deliveries.

In reply, Sixers slumped to 25 for three in the fourth over after Windies batsman Andre Fletcher nicked a catch behind for 12 off seamer Rubel Hossain, but Sabbir Rahman lashed 70 off 49 balls in a 117-run, fourth wicket stand with captain Nasir Hossain who made an unbeaten 50, to nearly take the game away from Riders.

In the feature game, Narine fell just short of his Twenty20 career-best as he belted seven fours and five sixes in the opening slot to get Dynamites up to a 128 all out in the 19th over, after they opted for first knock against Comilla Victorians.

He lost fellow Trinidadian and West Indies batting star, Evin Lewis, cheaply for seven in the second over as Dynamites slipped to 12 for two but staged a 92-run third wicket partnership with Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara (28), to put the innings back on the course.

But once Sangakkara perished in the 13th over, the innings fell apart with the last eight wickets tumbling for 24 runs. Narine was fourth out in the 14th over.

The champion off-spinner then returned in a brilliant four-over spell which yielded two for 17, but it was not enough to prevent Victorians from getting home with two ball to spare.

Shoaib Malik top-scored with a measured, unbeaten 54 while West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo failed with 12.

The victory took Victorians top of the standings on 10 points, one clear of Dynamites.

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