Comilla's late flourish
The Comilla Victorians managed to put in a rare, balanced performance to crush the Barisal Bulls by eight wickets in their Bangladesh Premier League match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
It was a day when you could not have found too many things wrong with the Victorians and it is a shame that the reigning champions have not managed to put in many more of these performances this season.
Asked to bowl first, some good bowling from the Victorians helped restrict the Bulls to just 142.
Comilla's spinners Nabil Samad and Rashid Khan were the key wicket-takers. While Nabil finished with figures of three for 17 and was adjudged the player of the match, Rashid took two for 21. Pacers Mohammad Saifuddin and Shahadat Hossain took one each.
After the exchange, Imrul Kayes hit a 35-ball 46 while Ahmed Shehzad scored 61 off 56 balls to guide the Victorians home with two wickets and one over remaining.
The game was especially important for the Barisal Bulls since they had six points on the board and they still had a chance to make it through to the top four. However, the defeat yesterday has made things extremely difficult for them.
The Bulls were under pressure right from the start. They lost Dilshan Munaweera in the second over of the day and that put a lot of pressure on them. But by the time 10 overs were up they were poised at 64 for three with Mushfiqur Rahim and Shahriar Nafees at the crease. While the duo did put up a number of good partnerships in the past, there were no repeats yesterday. Rashid trapped Nafees in front in the 13th over and then Nabil came in to remove both Nadif Chowdhury and Mushfiqur in the 14th over. A few lusty hits from Enamul Haque, Taijul Islam and Abu Hider helped Barisal add 50 runs to the scorecard and led to them crossing the 140-mark.
It initially seemed as though the Bulls might have pulled things back with their late hits, but once Imrul and Shehzad consolidated the opening stand, everything seemed easy for the Victorians.
The duo put on 93 runs in 12.5 overs and set the perfect foundation for the middle order. While Imrul hit six fours and a six during his 46, Shehzad hit five fours during his calculative 61.
While Imrul was dismissed in the 13th over, Shehzad was caught behind in the 17th. Those two dismissals did make things interesting toward the end as they needed 23 from 18, Comilla eventually reached home comfortably. Marlon Samuels smashed Rumman Raees for a six and a four in the last two balls of the 19th over to finish things in grand style.