Rangpur Riders 55 for 1 (Charles 46*) v Comilla Victorians
The BPL's second Qualifier between Comilla Victorians and Rangpur Riders will now continue on Monday, after chaos - stemming from a rain delay of almost two hours - nearly produced an organisational disaster in Mirpur. The final decision, of playing the game on the following day, came after Comilla captain Tamim Iqbal and Rangpur captain Mashrafe Mortaza agreed to the BPL governing council's suggestion "in the interest of the tournament and the crowd."
Rain interrupted the match when Rangpur were 55 for 1 after seven overs and did not cease for a long time, bringing the playing conditions into play. Had it been a washout, Comilla would have gone through because they finished the league stage on top. However, lack of clarity about the playing conditions within the BPL governing council started the confusion before they suggested extending the cut-off time by another two hours from the original 9.15pm and deciding the match with a Super Over. Tamim, however, did not agree with the Super Over proposition, saying the game wasn't tied at all. Eventually, the two captains agreed to continue the match on Monday evening at 6pm from where it was interrupted on Sunday.
A public service announcement at the ground ended nearly an hour-long drama that was witnessed by a half-full Shere Bangla National Stadium. Confusion prevailed as the BPL governing council members led by Ismail Haider Mallick, its member secretary, and several other BCB directors were engaged in several conversations with Tamim and their team owners and officials; there was the odd heated conversation too. Rangpur, however, chose not to be too involved in the chatter.
Mashrafe was clearly the happier of the two captains, since Rangpur would have been eliminated if the game had no result.
"You know, no team should be going out because it's a washout, especially in a semi-final," Mashrafe said. "It's not a thing about the [disagreements within the] board and so on, it's just the best news for cricket. Playing conditions are important, since we don't want to get injured ahead of Bangladesh's tri-series tour. Many thanks to Tamim for honouring this decision and for the sake of BPL, we will play tomorrow."
Tamim, on the other hand, looked at the bright side, and discussed strategy for the rest of the game.
"If any other team would've been in our shoes [of being ensured qualification in case of a washout] even they would've done the same as us," he said. "For the sake of the BPL, we will have a game tomorrow, so it's all good. For tomorrow, we can plan better now. Only 12 overs to bowl for us. Whoever starts well, will do better."
In the 35 minutes of cricket that happened on Sunday, Rangpur sped to 55 for 1 with Johnson Charles unbeaten on 46 off 26 balls with four fours and as many sixes. He entertained the crowd as the main attraction, Chris Gayle, holed out to long-off with a leading edge in the fifth over.
In the third over, Gayle had stepped on the ball while running for a single and he rolled his ankle to tumble awkwardly. He was tended to by the physio but was constantly limping, having a difficult time to even take singles before he was dismissed for 3 off 10 balls.