Sylhet Royals 150 for 6 (Chigumbura 43*, Naeem 2-17) beat Duronto Rajshahi 147 for 8 (Jahurul 50, Chigumbura 3-21) by four wickets
A late assault from Elton Chigumbura and Nazmul Hossain Milon helped Sylhet Royals to a thrilling four-wicket win over Duronto Rajshahi. Even though both sides were in command in different stages of the game, victory was finally clinched by the Royals thanks to a brilliant all-round show from Chigumbura.
Duronto had the game all but wrapped up when they reduced the Royals to 80 for 6 in the 14th over in pursuit of 148 runs. But the match changed its course when Chigumbura cracked Abul Hasan for a six and a four in the following over. After an eight-run over off left-arm spinner Monir Hossain, the pair launched into Sean Ervine, who gave away two sixes in his 18-run over. It helped the Royals cut down the asking run-rate drastically from over 11 per over to 27 off 18 balls. Chigumbura added another six and two more boundaries, before Milon finished the game with a boundary off the first ball of the last over. The pair added 70 runs in just 34 deliveries, though Milon did survive after being caught off a no-ball in the 19th over. Chigumbura, having a lot of experience in Bangladeshi conditions, was unbeaten on 43 off just 21 while Milon, a big-hitting sensation locally, made 33 off 22.
Before the final assault, it was the young Duronto spinners who kept things tight with their accuracy and flight. Naeem Islam jnr, Taijul Islam, Monir Hossain and Farhad Hossain shared all six wickets among them. Tamim Iqbal's plan was to use his experienced seamers for the latter overs, but it backfired along with his decision of not making Farhad complete his quota of four overs after he had conceded just five runs. The faster bowlers - Abul, Ervine and Ziaur Rahman - gave away 74 runs off 5.1 overs, and it hurt Duronto badly.
The Royals however would be somewhat disappointed after giving away such a good start with the ball, and having to fight so hard to win the game.
Jahurul Islam pulled the Duronto innings out of an early scare, as he batted confidently. Offspinner Sohag Gazi had captain Tamim Iqbal caught and bowled off the first ball of the match, and soon, Duronto's experiment of using Mukhtar Ali as an opener also backfired when he was caught behind off the same bowler, in the third over.
From 9 for 2, Jahurul added 63 for the third wicket with Moeen Ali, who batted scratchily for 35 deliveries to make just 24. Jahurul however struck five fours and a six in his 38-ball 50, and ensured his team reached a decent score before getting out in the 19th over. Ziaur also hit a six and three boundaries in his 19-ball 21 before Ervine and Farhad scampered to put up a respectable total.
The Royals bowlers were initially led by Gazi's two wickets but Chigumbura's three wickets and offspinner Mohammad Nabi's four tight overs ensured control. Dirk Nannes, who flew in the day before, looked tame and as a result, went wicketless despite being the most experienced in the attack.
Before their next matches in Khulna, Duronto would eagerly want their foreign signings to arrive as they have had to function with just 12 players.