Victorians outclass stuttering Vikings
Comilla Victorians cashed in on some poor cricket from Chittagong Vikings during their opening game of the Bangladesh Premier League to seal a comfortable eight-wicket win at the Sylhet International Stadium yesterday.
After Comilla skipper Mohammad Nabi won the toss and elected to field, Chittagong's innings was one of two highly contrasting halves.
The Vikings started strong, reaching 91 for one after the first 10 overs, but the match took a drastic turn from then on as they added just 52 in the second half for the loss of six wickets to finish on 143 for seven.
Chittagong's opening batsmen Luke Ronchi and Soumya Sarkar came out all guns blazing to add 63 runs in the Powerplay. Ronchi was lucky to be dropped by Alok Kapali on just one and it turned out to be costly for the bowling side. The right-hander from New Zealand went on to score a 21-ball 40 with four boundaries and three sixes, two of which were struck consecutively off Dwayne Bravo in the fifth over.
At the other end, Soumya looked confident and employed his newly adopted reverse sweep to great effect, smashing a powerful six off left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny over the point region.
However, the situation soon took a turn for the worse as Ronchi looked to launch another assault with the score on 63, but his back foot punch was defeated by the bounce Nabi got off the track and the ball floated up on the off side and this time Kapali made no mistake in swooping low to take the catch.
Soumya, who ended on 38 runs off 33 balls featuring three fours and a six, seemed to fancy his chances a bit too much and paid the price for it when he was bowled trying to scoop Mohammad Saifuddin.
When the time came to bowl the youngster, who not long ago was struck for five sixes in an over by David Miller during the second T20I against South Africa, bowled tight lines and lengths and stemmed the flow of runs. Saifuddin went on to scalp three wickets in total to end on match-winning figures of three for 24 while Bravo took two for 29.
Sri Lankan Dilshan Munaweera's 21 was the other notable performance from the Vikings as skipper Misbah (6) and Luis Reece (9) were unable to make an impact with the bat.
In reply, the Victorians faced no problem whatsoever as, with the help of some wayward bowling from Chittagong, English opener Jos Buttler top-scored for his side with 48 off 42 balls featuring three fours and two sixes and laid the foundation for an easy win.
West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels landed some lusty blows at the end, remaining unbeaten on 35 off 18 balls with the help of four boundaries and a six while Imrul Kayes was not out on 33 off 31. However, it was Liton Das's quick 14-ball 23 alongside Buttler's innings that provided the much needed fire-power at the start of the chase.