Comilla Victorians pulled off an exciting 14-run triumph against BPL outfit Rangpur Riders in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League season five at the packed Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
Comilla were limited to 153 for 6 after asking to bat first, but their slow bowlers bamboozled Rangpur, who could manage 139 for 7 in the restricted 20 overs.
Comilla’s success was achieved due mainly to a brilliant bowling spell from underrated off-spinner Mehedi Hasan who picked up two wickets for 15 runs in his four-over spell. Credit should also be given to Rashid Khan who continued magnificent run in BPL with ball, dismissing two big stars in vital time.
Despite having a star-studded batting line-up, Rangpur were never in the chase after losing their star batsmen early and, with the exception of Mithun (31), none of the Rangpur batsmen could come up with any answer to the inspired Comilla bowling attack.
Captain Mashrafe hit 17 off 11 balls but once he was dismissed, all hopes of Rangpur win evaporated.
Rangpur had a scare at the start of their reply when their opener Chris Gayle was dropped by Litton Das behind the stumps in the fourth over before they comfortably progressed to 31 without loss in 4.2 overs. After getting reprieve, Gayle alongside Breondon McCullum looked on destructive mood at one stage clobbering almost every delivery.
However, the momentum switched with a bowling change which saw Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan to remove Gayle (17) and Kusal Perera (0) in space of four deliveries as Rangpur slumped from 31/0 to 31/2 in 4.4 over.
But when newcomer Mehedi Hasan had McCullum (13) and Shahriar Nafees in the same over and the total reached 32/4, the game had become wide open. However, Ravi Bopara started the recovery with Mohammad Mithun (31) and was involved in a 67-run stand.
However, the moment Mithun (31) lost his wicket, the game shifted towards Comilla. Bopara was not as effective with a 48-ball 48. Earlier, riding on Imrul Kayes’s 47 and Marlon Samuels’ 41,Comilla reached 153 for 6 in 20 overs.
Mashrafe and Perera were especially unplayable. Mashrafe bagged two wickets for 22 in his four over spell that was instrumental while Rangpur’s Sri Lankan recruit, Perera (2-26) provided the adequate support with ball.