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Gayle century keeps Rangpur Riders hope alive with win in Eliminator

Chris Gayle remained unbeaten on 126
Chris Gayle remained unbeaten on 126

Rangpur Riders 171-2 (Gayle 126no) beat
Khulna Titans 167-6 (Ariful 29) by eight wickets
Eliminator, Bangladesh Premier League, Dhaka

Chris Gayle smashed an unbeaten 126 run knock as Rangpur Riders chased down 168 runs with ease in 15.2 overs with eight wickets in hand against Khulna Titans in the Eliminator contest of the Bangladesh Premier League.

As a result, Rangpur will now face Comilla Victorians in the Qualifier 2 game at Shere Bangla Stadium in Mirpur on Sunday while Khulna Titans' campaign comes to an end.

Gayle (126 not out) signalled his intentions early with a six in the third delivery and struck another maximum and two more boundaries in the second over to give a blistering start to the chase.

Jofra Chioke Archer (2-30) brought Khulna back into the game with the wickets of Sohag Gazi (1) and Brendon McCullum (0) in a span of three deliveries but that did not stop the former West Indian captain from teeing off as he completed a 23-ball half-century.

Mohammad Mithun (30 not out) was going at run a ball at the other end but the entire spotlight was on Gayle, who plundered 73 runs out of the 104 that Rangpur managed in the first half.

With three more sixes and a boundary, Gayle reached a fine century, needing just 45 deliveries for it. He smashed overall 14 sixes and six boundaries in his unbeaten 51 ball knock to help Rangpur complete the chase in 15.2 overs with eight wickets in hand.

Earlier, Khulna Titans struggled to get going in the powerplay before a six-ball cameo from Mahmudullah (20) injected the much needed momentum into the innings.

However, once Mahmudullah fell, Khulna found it tough to deal with the middle overs before Carlos Brathwaite (25 not out) with his nine ball unbeaten knock helped them post 167 for six in the 20 overs.

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