An unbeaten 69 from number three Comilla Victorians batsman Marlon Samuels carried them to a five-wicket win over Khulna Titans at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur and kept their hopes alive of reaching the Bangladesh Premier League playoffs.
Chasing 142 after brilliant bowling from skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza restricted Khulna to 141 for six after they were asked to bat first, Comilla rode on a 57-ball 69 from Samuels to get home with eight balls to spare. Mashrafe also played his part with the bat, coming in when Comilla were in a spot of bother at 62 for three in the 11th over and hammering three sixes in his 11-ball 20 to get the chase back on track.
With one more game to go, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s Victorians face a steep task. They currently have eight points from 11 matches. To qualify, they will need the Rangpur Riders to firstly lose against the Barisal Bulls and then they will need the Rajshahi Kings to lose against the Chittagong Vikings. And finally, they will then need to beat the Riders by a huge margin themselves.
If everything goes as per the above stipulation, then Rajshahi, Rangpur, Comilla and Barisal will have 10 points each and the team with the highest run-rate will qualify. Even in this case, Comilla are behind as their run-rate is in the negative. Rajshahi on the other hand have a positive run-rate and are the likeliest of the four to qualify.
The case of the Khulna Titans’ finishing in the top two is a lot simpler. All they need to do is beat the Chittagong Vikings by a huge margin.
Earlier, an unbeaten 40 from captain Mahmudullah Riyad took Khulna Titans to 141 for six.
Khulna never enjoyed the momentum to push for a massive total as they lost wickets at regular intervals throughout their faltering innings. Whenever a Khulna partnership seemed threatening, Comilla bowlers got their breakthrough and pegged back the Titans. Mahmudullah was the highest scorer for his side with 40 runs from 38 balls. His unbeaten knock contained four hits to the fence.
Mashrafe was the most successful bowler for Comilla -- the 33 year-old cricketer captured three wickets for 16 runs in four overs. Mohammad Sharif, Mohammad Saifuddin and Rashid Khan took a wicket each.