Comilla Victorians v Chittagong Vikings, BPL, Dhaka November 24, 2015

Mashrafe wins his Amir challenge

Tamim Iqbal and Mashrafe Mortaza had shared a light-hearted chat about facing Mohammad Amir before the BPL began, but it was Mashrafe who had the last laugh

Mohammad Amir couldn't quite get the ball into Mashrafe Mortaza's toes when it mattered © AFP

On the day before BPL began, Tamim Iqbal was going to Chittagong Vikings' training at the BCB Academy ground when he bumped into Mashrafe Mortaza. When their conversation was winding down, the talk drifted to Mohammad Amir and how Tamim will use him in the tournament.

"When you will come to bat, I will just tell him to hit you there," Tamim told Mashrafe pointing to his toes.

"Bring him on if you dare. I will hit him out of the park," Mashrafe said in mock warning.

Tamim pointed to his toes once again, the two laughed heartily, before he joined his team-mates for training.

That moment arrived in the 17th over on Tuesday when Comilla Victorians needed 36 off the last four overs. It wasn't a surprise to see Amir come on to bowl, and Tamim didn't just bring him on because Mashrafe was at the crease. Chittagong's plan is to use Amir up front for two overs and then at the death.

Tamim possibly forgot to inform Amir to bowl at Mashrafe's toes as both deliveries he sent down to him on the over were angling away, giving him room to take a single off the inside edge and a couple with a hoick over cover.

The scenario had changed rapidly when Amir bowled his next over, the 19th of the innings, as Comilla just needed a run-a-ball 12 after Samuels carted Shafiul Islam for 18 runs to reduce the gap.

Amir tried to jam the ball past Mashrafe's bat but he tapped it on the off-side field to reach his maiden T20 fifty. A fuller delivery was next up, the fourth of the over, but Mashrafe squeezed it past point for a couple and then the next ball too, another full one outside off stump was squeezed away past point. This time it reached the boundary and Mashrafe was off, celebrating Comilla's first win in the BPL.

After the brief celebrations, Tamim later caught up with Mashrafe and shared a brief handshake. It was done in all seriousness.

Mashrafe later ranked the unbeaten 56 off 32 balls as his all-time best, and said that his self-promotion to No. 5 was a tactical move.

"This is my best ever innings with the bat," Mashrafe said. "When I went to bat however, I didn't think much. I just wanted to hustle their bowlers and maybe prompt a bit of change in their bowling plans. When I could be there till the end, I couldn't really believe it. You could see it in how I ran off to celebrate."

It worked, and although his prophecy to Tamim didn't pan out exactly as he said Mashrafe would count himself lucky none of those Amir yorkers dipped into his feet.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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