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Sabbir eclipses Gayle, but Rajshahi fall short

Barisal Bulls 192 for 4 (Mushfiqur 81*, Nafees 63) beat Rajshahi Kings 188 for 6 (Sabbir 122, Al-Ami 3-35) by four runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Sabbir Rahman's 122 went in vain in the first high-scoring thriller of this season's BPL as Barisal Bulls prevailed over Rajshahi Kings by four runs.

Barisal had to thank Mushfiqur Rahim and Shahriar Nafees, whose 112-run stand for the third wicket hauled them close to 200. Then, tight death bowling, none more important than the last over where Thisara Perera defended nine, helped them seal the game.

Sabbir arrived at the crease in the first over after Raqibul Hasan was spectacularly caught at cover by Nafees. After punching the ball through the covers for his first boundary, he slammed Monir Hossain for a straight six, for the first of his nine sixes. But Barisal gave him a reprieve on 14 when Al-Amin Hossain dropped him at point.

Sabbir ensured the Powerplay overs were put to use as he added 48 runs for the second wicket with Mominul Haque, but the left-hander fell in the sixth over. That was followed by the unfortunate dismissal of Umar Akmal. While the bowler didn't appeal, umpire Khalid Mahmood was perhaps influenced by Mushfiqur's appeal. Replays showed the ball was going over leg stump.

Sabbir was least affected by that, however, as he hammered hammered sixes off Taijul Islam and Al-Amin as Rajshahi caught up with the chase. At the halfway mark, they were on course, having made 92 for 3. He soon brought up his 100 off just 53 deliveries before ecplising Chris Gayle's record for the highest individual score (116) in the tournament's history. When he holed out to midwicket, Rajshahi needed 34 off the last four overs.

The chase increasingly looked a struggle from there on as Sammy and Nurul Hasan couldn't find the boundaries. It got even harder after Sammy left with ten needed off the last seven balls, leaving Nurul and Abul Hasan to see them to 193. It boiled down to six off the final ball, which went for just a single to cover. Al-Amin, whose dropped catch made it hard for Barisal, ended up with three wickets while Monir, Abu Hider and Rayad Emrit had one each.

Farhad Reza had earlier removed Dilshan Munaweera and Dawid Malan as Barisal slipped to 21 for 2 in the fifth over. Then it Mushfiqur and Nafees took over, and brought up a potentially match-winning total that was defended with much elan.