Rajshahi Kings 150 for 3 (Zakir 51*, Mominul 42) beat Sylhet Sixers 146 for 6 (Sabbir 41, Gunathilaka 40, Williams 2-32) by seven wickets
Rajshahi Kings came back to winning ways as they defeated Sylhet Sixers by seven wickets. It was all homegrown players to the fore as little-known Zakir Hasan struck his maiden BPL fifty after Mominul Haque and Mehidy Hasan had done enough to set up the win.
Zakir struck an unbeaten 51 off 26 balls, hitting four fours and three sixes, and shared a 53-run unbroken fourth-wicket stand with Mushfiqur Rahim who scored 25 off 20 balls.
Sylhet had earlier put up 146 for 6 mostly because of Sabbir's late charge - 41 off 26 balls that included four sixes - after Danushka Gunathilaka contributed with a 37-ball 40 with four fours and two sixes. Kesrick Williams took two wickets but it was Mehidy and James Franklin who put the brakes on Sylhet's charge.
Sylhet quiet for 17 overs
Mehidy bowled his four overs in the first eight overs, conceding just 12 runs and picking up Upul Tharanga's wicket. It was a dream delivery for an offspinner against an in-form left-hand batsman, as he beat Tharanga's forward push with the turn to crash into the stumps. Nurul Hasan gave a catch to fine leg before Nasir was bowled by Samit Patel in the 13th over. And when Gunathilaka fell in the following over, Sylhet were in real trouble.
After Mehidy, Franklin and Patel combined to bowl five overs for only 23 runs as Sylhet hardly looked to be in the groove for the first 17 overs, in which they reached 92 for 5.
Sabbir's big finish
Sabbir was having trouble timing the ball until the last three balls of the 18th over. He managed to hit Farhad Reza for a six over long-on before hitting the next ball a lot straighter for a second six. The over went for 24 runs after Sabbir swept the last ball for a four.
In the last over, Sabbir struck Williams for two consecutive sixes before holing out to square leg, for his first substantial contribution for Sylhet in the tournament. It was a timely effort too, as Sylhet amassed 54 runs in the last three overs.
The home boys find their feet
Mominul and Rony Talukdar got Rajshahi's chase off to a fast start, adding 65 runs in 8.3 overs. Rony got an early life when Gunathilaka dropped him at midwicket off the second ball of the innings. He went on to hit Taijul Islam for a straight six in the seventh over, but fell for 24 off 22 balls when he was stumped off Nasir in the ninth over. Mominul continued to bat fluently, also hitting one six in his 36-ball 42, that also included five fours.
Zakir, playing his first match this season, also rode on a bit of luck in the 12th over when he was caught at midwicket but replays showed the bowler Nabil Samad had overstepped. He slogged the next two balls for huge sixes, handing Rajshahi back the advantage.
A stroll to finish
Mominul's dismissal came at a time when he and Zakir were looking dangerous together but Mushfiqur calmed things down by rotating the strike regularly with Zakir. The teenager struck the winning runs in the 18th over off Taijul, with two consecutive fours - through third man and midwicket - to take them home with 15 balls to spare.