Bopara double act too much for Comilla
Sylhet Superstars 168 for 6 (Bopara 50, Hider 4-28) beat Comilla Victorians 164 for 5 (Zaidi 53*, Bopara 4-18) by four wicketsScorecard and ball-by-ball details
Ravi Bopara brought Sylhet Super Stars their first win of the BPL season, beating Comilla Victorians by four wickets with two balls to spare in a hard-fought contest. Bopara took four wickets and later struck 50 of 38 balls, which was also his first meaningful contribution with the bat.
Had he stayed till the end, the contest may not have been as exciting. As it was Abu Hider, the 19-year old left-arm seamer took back-to-back wickets in the final over including Bopara's to leave the equation at three needed off three balls. Nazmul Hossain Milon defused the tenions with a six to secure the victory.
It was a difficult end for the man who led Comilla's defence. Hider claimed the first breakthrough in the sixth over, inducing a top edge from Mominul Haque which was called for and caught by wicketkeeper Liton ADas amid four other fielders in the vicinity. Sylhet still had Dilshan Munaweera, who hammered Mashrafe Mortaza for a six over square leg, en route to 36 off 26 balls. It was Hider again that made the incision as Munaweera cut straight to point.
Bopara, promoted to No 3, joined Mushfiqur Rahim and stabilised the innings with an 87-run partnership which ultimately proved match-winning.
Sylhet were 76 for 2 after 10 overs, needing a relatively straightforward 89 more. Bopara and Mushfiqur struck four fours in the 14th and 15th overs, to reduce the chase to a simple 45 off the last 30 balls.
Mashrafe conceded a boundary off the first ball of the 16th over, but then missed a great chance to run Mushfiqur out when he had three stumps to aim at and the batsman nowhere near safety. As if to emphasise the good luck Sylhet's captain had, Mushfiqur was dropped the very next ball. Two balls, two chances and two reprieves. Eventually, Kulasekara bowled him with an inswinger for 47 off 31 balls.
Earlier when Comilla batted first, Liton Das sent the crowd into frenzy as he got Comilla off to a quick start. It began with a streaky four off the second ball of the match, the edge burst through Munaweera at slip. Liton's next five fours were quite convincing. He flicked, drove inside out, carved past point and tonked one over mid-off to provide 42 out of the 56-run opening stand with Imrul Kayes. Liton was dismissed by Bopara in the seventh over, to signal the momentum shift.
Bopara then took out Mukhtar Ahmed and Shuvagata Hom in the ninth over to leave Comilla in a bit of crisis at 66 for 3.
Kayes, who was batting well within himself, got a reprieve. He jammed the bat down on a Munaweera delivery in the 11th over, the ball then rolled onto the stumps but did not topple the bails over. Kayes and Ashar Zaidi then added 62 runs for the fourth wicket though the latter, on 9, survived a chance when Nurul Hasan misjudged a catch at midwicket and overran the ball.
Kayes smacked Rubel Hossain for a four over mid-on soon after, and followed it up with a six off Bopara, who completed his second four-for in T20s. Zaidi finished with two fours and a six in the final over, but his 53 off 36 balls could not bring his side a victory
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84