It looked like a tight affair for Dhaka Warriors towards the end but once again it was Alok Kapali who saw them through with eight balls to spare against the Mumbai Champs in what was a must-win game for the newest ICL entrants.
Shahriar Nafees, with his best display of the tournament so far, looked to have sealed the match for Dhaka at the top of the innings. He set the tone by dispatching the first two balls of the innings from Suryash Burkul to the fence. Three boundaries off the sixth over by Ranjit Khirid clearly signaled his intent as Dhaka sped to 69 in the eighth over. His 40-ball 57 comprised nine fours and a six but once Shridhar Iyer trapped him leg-before while attempting a sweep, it was upto Kapali to take the lead role for the final assault.
Full of confidence after a string of successive performances, he was instrumental in ensuring the points for Dhaka after a few jitters towards the end. He took a particular liking for Iyer, completely wrecking his figures as he took 23 off two overs. And even as his captain Habibul Bashar fell with the game on tenterhooks, it was Kapali's cool customer attitude that took Dhaka home with an unbeaten 48 off 35 balls.
Earlier, the Mumbai Champs were off to a promising start with Subhojit Paul and Dheeraj Jadhav putting on 24 in the fourth over but Tapash Baisya came back strongly in his second over, trapping Jadhav leg-before after coming in for some harsh treatment from Paul in his first over.
Paul then followed holding out to Mohammad Rafique at mid-off off a fuller delivery from Mohammad Sharif. Taufeeq Umar, in particular, was looking good for Mumbai, but seemed to be fast running out of partners with Hasan Raza, Kiran Powar and Shreyas Khanolkar returning to the pavilion in quick succession, thanks to a magical 13th over by Mosharraf Hossain. Umar finally succumbed to a straighter one from Kapali after dispatching him for successive fours in his previous over.
Enter Khirid. Back into the squad after sitting out the last two matches against the Royal Bengal Tigers and Lahore Badshahs, he provided the late charge for Mumbai coming down severely on Rafique and Sharif. While Rafique got off with just 15 with Khirid on strike, Sharif was hit for 18 in the last over of the innings. Khirid's unbeaten 25-ball 51 was enough to propel Mumbai to 151, which seemed unlikely after their poor start.