Rajshahi defend 99 in thriller
Duronto Rajshahi 99 for 9 (Mukhtar 22, Mahmudullah 2-17) beat Chittagong Kings 97 (Mahmudullah 40, Hasan 3-20) by two runs
Duronto Rajshahi defended just 99 runs and stunned Chittagong Kings with a two-run win. The low-scoring game was never out of anyone's grip, and neither was it in any side's complete grasp in the second half, but Duronto pulled it off with accurate bowling, backed up by excellent work in the field.
With three runs required from the final over bowled by Sean Ervine, Kings still had three wickets in hand, but Ervine got Marshall Ayub caught at point by Abul Hassan on the first ball. This was followed by Tamim Iqbal's direct hit from mid-off at the non-striker's end to run out Enamul Haque jnr before Arafat Sunny's attempted scoop did not connect as Ervine hit the stumps. It was a win out of nothing for Duronto, who chipped away at the Kings batting line-up. But it was seen by less than a thousand people at the ground due to high ticket prices, leaving the organisers frustrated.
A band of young, unknown left-arm spinners - Monir Hossain, Naeem Islam jnr and Taijul Islam - bowled very well at the top. They kept Brendan Taylor, Jason Roy and Ravi Bopara quiet and the trio fell cheaply. Subsequently, captain Mahmudullah held the innings with a 42-ball 40, but found little support from anyone else.
Mehrab Hossain jnr made 18 but his attempt to clear midwicket failed as he found Abul Hasan, who took a sharp catch off Farhad Hossain's off-spin. Jacob Oram fell to a pull to Hasan at fine leg before Mahmudullah was caught at long-on by his opposite number Tamim. Marshall had the duty to finish off but he also survived a dropped catch by Ziaur Rahman at deep cover in the penultimate over with six runs required. Duronto dominated when it mattered, in the final three overs, when they bowled enough dot balls to bring out the wickets. Abul was the best bowler on show, taking 3 for 20 from his four overs.
The earlier part of the day was Kings' however, after Oram ran out Jahurul Islam in the first over. Moeen Ali and Tamim threw away their wickets with unwise swipes while allrounders Ervine and Ziaur also fell cheaply to the mixed-bag bowling attack. Mukhtar Ali scored an unbeaten 22 which prolonged the innings into the final over but 99 runs just seemed to be too little. Until Duronto showed their team spirit to turn the tables.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent