Batting remained the biggest concern for Dhaka Dynamites as Shakib AL Hasan's side failed to chase a small 128-run target, succumbing to a one-run defeat against Comilla Victorians in an action packed Bangladesh Premier League match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
Player-of-the-match Mohammad Saifuddin was instrumental in defending Comilla's total, picking up four wickets for just 22 runs from his four overs.
It was in his last over of the innings, when Dhaka required 13 runs to win with West Indian hard-hitter Andre Russell at the crease, that Saifuddin first removed Rubel Hossain with the first ball.
After that, when Dhaka needed 12 runs off the last two balls with Russell on strike, Saifuddin's fifth delivery was hit for a six, bringing the equation to six runs off the last ball. However, Saifuddin then bowled a brilliant yorker which went for a boundary but was still enough for Comilla to clinch the dramatic win in the end.
With 16 points from 11 games, Comilla now lead the points table while Dhaka, after facing their fifth consecutive defeat, have 10 points and will have to win their last game against Khulna Titans to qualify for the playoff stage. Meanwhile Rajshahi Kings, on 12 points with no games remaining, will surely be relying on a favourable results to see themselves through.
Opting to bowl, Dhaka did everything right even though Tamim Iqbal started things off for Comilla with an all-guns-blazing approach. However, after the left-hander departed for 38 runs off 20 balls Comilla lost their way.
It was Mahedi Hasan's 20 off 15 at the end which helped Comilla post 127 before being bundled out. Rubel Hossain was the pick of the bowlers for Dhaka, bagging four scalps.
In the chase, Dhaka once again fielded a different opening pair with Sri Lanka's Upul Tharanga playing alongside Mizanur Rahman. However, much like in their previous few fixtures, Dhaka lost both openers -- Tharanga (0) and Mizanur (16) -- early before the dismissal of Rony Talukdar (1). Young off-spinner Mahedi then bowled skipper Shakib Al Hasan (7) to leave Dhaka reeling on 29 for four inside the Powerplay.
Keiron Pollard and Sunil Narine added 42 for the fifth wicket before the latter was dismissed for 22. Saifuddin then came to the fore, dismissing Pollard for 34 runs and Nurul Hasan (0) in successive deliveries.
Russell was lucky when he handed a catch in the next over off Wahab Riaz but TV replays showed that it was a no ball.
Apart from Saifuddin's four-wicket haul, Mahedi ended with figures of two for 22 from his four overs while Riaz and Afridi also took a wicket each.