Perera, Mushy lift Barisal
When reigning champions Comilla Victorians were initially restricted for 129 for eight, many expected the Barisal Bulls to win yesterday's afternoon encounter at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur quite easily.
However, as the match progressed it became clear that the wicket was not as conducive to batting as initially expected. There were plenty of twists and turns in the game, but eventually Barisal held their cool and reached home at the nick of time.
Barisal's batsmen struggled at the initial stage of their chase. Dilshan Munaweera was dismissed in the fifth over for a 19-ball 15, while his opening partner Shamsur Rahman, who played at a painstakingly slow pace, got dismissed in the 11th over for a 26-ball 16.
Eventually, Barisal needed 52 from the last six overs with seven wickets in hand. Comilla skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza gave Mohammad Sharif the ball and that over leaked 12 runs. While he was dispatched for a boundary in the fourth ball by Thisara Perera, he was also guilty of bowling a no-ball.
With 39 runs required off 30 balls, the confidence of the pair at the crease, Mushfiqur Rahim and Perera, grew and they were looking to go for their boundaries. That was of course a huge change in the course of the play since the earlier batters struggled to get bat to ball.
Both Mushfiqur and Perera smacked Imad Wasim for sixes in the 17th over and brought the equation down to a safe 14 from 18. However, Mushfiqur lost his cool in the next over and got caught behind while attempting to charge Sohail Tanvir and that once again brought the pressure back on Barisal. They now needed 10 from 12. A single wicket or a good over could change the course of the match. But that was not to be as Perera remained calm and thumped Sharif for two fours in the 19th over and gave Barisal their first win of the competition. It was Perera's decisive 20-ball 34 that proved to be the difference in the game. It was ironic too since Comilla had released Perera from their list of foreign players just before the start of the competition.
Earlier, the Comilla Victorians, thanks to a run-a-ball 48 from Marlon Samuels which saw him hit five fours, ended up on 128 for nine.
While a majority of the batsmen were just trying to hit their way out of trouble, Samuels took the pain to spend time on the wicket and get set. And that is the reason why he managed to stay on even when his team had crumbled to 66 for five in 12 overs. He played a few well-timed drives through the covers for fours and ensured that Comilla were still in the game.
However, in a bid to accelerate towards the end, he got caught at the deep off Rayad Emrit in the 19th over. Comilla seemed in plenty of trouble at 111 for seven and needed a hero.
That came in the form of Sohail Tanvir, who muscled Comilla over the 120-run mark. He smacked Abu Hider for two sixes in the last over. The first was a slog over long-on in the first ball and then the second one was hit in the same direction, this time in the last ball of the first innings. His 30 off 19 balls had given the reigning champions an unlikely shot at winning this game.