Comilla Victorians 100 for 6 (Mashrafe 3-24, Nazmul 2-17) v Rangpur Riders 97 (Mahedi 4-22, Saifuddin 3-22) by 4 wickets
Comilla Victorians made heavy weather of a target of 98, taking 19.3 overs to complete a four-wicket win over Rangpur Riders that put them in the playoffs. The win gave them a three-point lead over second-placed Khulna Titans in the points table.
Rangpur had earlier lasted only 17.1 overs and were bowled out for 97, the lowest total of this season. Mahedi Hasan took a career-best 4 for 22 while Mohammad Saifuddin took three wickets.
Comilla thrive on twin-spin act
Mujeed Zadran, the 16-year-old Afghanistan offspinner who is the youngest player in BPL, had Ziaur Rahman plumb in front of the stumps off the first ball of the match, but umpire Ranmore Martinesz turned down the appeal despite the ball hitting the batsman's boot with the off stump visible. The decision didn't cost Comilla too much as Mahedi, the slightly more experienced offspinner in their revamped spin attack, removed both Chris Gayle and Ziaur in the next over.
Both batsmen were bowled trying to blast Mahedi down the ground, with Gayle getting a first-ball duck. Mahedi later went on to remove Brendon McCullum in the 11th over, after a torturous 24 off 31 balls. Nahidul Islam was his fourth wicket, with the delivery sliding through the angle.
Bopara's run out drags Rangpur back
Once three wickets had fallen by the seventh over, Ravi Bopara and McCullum tried to lead Rangpur's recovery, but Bopara didn't have much of an impact. As he tried to complete a single, he stopped sliding his bat just short of the crease. Imrul Kayes scored with the direct hit as Bopara's feet, too, were in the air as the ball hit the stumps.
Rangpur succumb to pace too
Rangpur also struggled against the pace of Mohammad Saifuddin, who produced bouncers and yorkers. He finished with three wickets, getting Mohammad Mithun caught at cover and bowling pinpoint yorkers to bowl Mashrafe Mortaza and Sohag Gazi. Hasan Ali also bowled good yorkers but finished with one wicket, getting Chamara Kapugedera caught behind.
Comilla's chasing woes
Tamim Iqbal started the Comilla chase with a six over cover in the first over, and in the next over, he survived a stumping chance off Mashrafe Mortaza, who then went on to dismiss Liton Das in the fourth over.
In the seventh over, Tamim fell to a superb catch at the long-on boundary. Nahidul, perilously close to the line, kept his balance and, after stepping over the rope, recovered well to leap back and finish the catch. Two overs later, Buttler was stumped off Nazmul Islam, and suddenly Comilla were in some trouble at 47 for 3.
Nazmul sneaks one through Malik
Imrul Kayes and Shoaib Malik helped Comilla regain some footing, but Rangpur came back to dismiss the pair in the space of eight deliveries. Imrul played a pull off Mashrafe straight to Gayle at short midwicket before Nazmul got the ball to sneak between Malik's legs as he tried to pad it away on the charge.
Samuels drags it to the end
While the asking rate did not threaten Comilla, the slow pitch did not allow their batsmen to go after the bowling. This meant that they went into the last five overs needing 25 and that equation tightened to 10 off 12 balls. Bowling the penultimate over, Mashrafe had Saifuddin caught in the deep-midwicket boundary, before Hasan Ali's big six brought the target down to two from the last over.
Samuels could not score off the first two balls of the last over, which made the Comilla dressing room very nervous, but the feeling did not last too long.