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Cooper’s heroics fail to save team

Kevon Cooper.

Kevon Cooper.

CHITTAGONG – Trinidad and Tobago’s Kevon Cooper starred with the ball for Chittagong Kings but it was not enough to stop Sylhet Royals from bludgeoning their way to a fifth consecutive win, beating Chittagong by three wickets, to increase their lead at the top of the table in the Bangladesh Premier League today.

Paul Stirling, Mohammad Nabi and finally Elton Chigumbura, with 31 off 17 balls, batted aggressively to take the Royals to victory with three balls to spare scoring 176 for 7 in response to the Kings 172 for 6. The win silenced a sell-out crowd at the MA Aziz Stadium, but apart from disappointing the home support it was the sort of cricket that the BPL requires to bring in more crowds.

Stirling started the chase by going across the line a number of times in his 25-ball 38 before getting run out after a mix-up with Nabi. Stirling had earlier survived a chance off a top edge that was dropped after Ravi Bopara and Naeem Islam collided at mid-on.

Sealed with a boundary

Nabi made up for his error by hitting consecutive sixes soon after in a vital 43 off 26 balls. But the chase came down to Chigumbura and the Zimbabwean made the difference with his three sixes, shepherding the finish with Suhrawadi Shuvo who crunched a boundary to complete the victory.

Earlier, Naeem anchored the Kings innings to make a career-best 72 off 52 balls with nine boundaries showing he could adapt after remodelling his game to suit longer versions. Naeem and Ravi Bopara added 78 for the first wicket before the Kings started to lose regular wickets. Ryan ten Doeschate made 21 off 10 balls towards the end to prop up the total, which seemed to be enough on a slow wicket.

But the wickedly fast outfield, with barren patches around the rope, played a role as the Royals used their power to good effect. For the Kings it continued their problems at home and this was their third loss in four matches.

In the midst of the strong chase by the Royals, Cooper returned the excellent figures of 3 for 21 in his four overs. (Cricinfo)†††

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