Beximco Dhaka 179 for 7 (Sabbir 56, Naim 36, Shohidul 2-31) beat Gemcon Khulna159 (Jahurul 53, Shamim 24, Robi 5-27) by 20 runs
Beximco Dhaka's 20-run win against Gemcon Khulna sealed their place in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup playoffs. They are now equal on eight points with Khulna with one game in hand, leaving Minister Rajshahi and Fortune Barishal to battle out for the remaining playoff spot.
Dhaka gained control of this contest when Khulna's chase slipped from 78 for 2 to 95 for 6 in the space of 12 balls. Among these four wickets were the set pair of Mahmudullah and Jahurul Islam who made a 36-ball 53 with two sixes and four fours. A short burst from Shamim Hossain, who struck two sixes and as many fours in his 9-ball 24, had to be put out in the 16th over, in which Shuvagata Hom, their last recognised batsman, was also dismissed.
Robiul Islam Robi's maiden five-wicket haul came in three spells; he has already taken a four-wicket haul in the tournament. Rubel Hossain and Muktar Ali took two wickets each.
But it was Dhaka's batting, and two overs in particular, that sucked the life out of Khulna. Mohammad Naim hammered Shakib Al Hasan for four sixes in a 26-run second over of the match. Naim swung Shakib twice over long-on and twice over midwicket in an audacious charge.
After the left-hander fell for a 17-ball 36, Sabbir Rahman and Al-Amin added 64 runs for the second wicket. Sabbir went on to make his first fifty of the tournament before Dhaka's second big over handed them the momentum as Akbar Ali blasted left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam for four sixes in the 15th over. The first was a flat one over long-off, followed by two over long-on and a slog sweep that ensured Dhaka had a formidable total.
Gazi Group Chattogram 153 for 7 (Sarkar 62, Shykat 39) beat Fortune Barishal 149 for 6 (Saif 46, Tamim 43, Mosaddek 2-16) by seven wickets
Gazi Group Chittagong's seven-wicket win against Fortune Barishal has turned the last two matches of the league phase of the Bangabandhu T20 Cup into potential knockout clashes. Barishal and Minister Rajshahi, both now on four points from seven games, have one game each left, with Barishal having a slight advantage of knowing what they must do as they play the evening game on Saturday.
Barishal squandered a golden opportunity on Thursday after their openers Saif Hassan (46) and Tamim Iqbal (43) added 87 in 10.5 overs. Mosaddek Hossain dismissed both batsmen, leaving the inexperienced Barishal line-up with too much to do. Parvez Hossain Emon, who made a 42-ball century in the last game, made only 14 while Afif Hossain was unbeaten on 28 off 16 balls.
Chattogram, who rested Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam and Liton Das, gave away only 62 runs in the last nine overs.
Soumya Sarkar and Shykat Ali then launched the chase with a 79-run opening stand although both survived dropped catches on 10 and 31 respectively. Sarkar top-scored with 62 off 37 balls with seven fours and three sixes while Shykat scored 39 off 33.
On Saturday, Barishal take on a rampant Beximco Dhaka side that has won their last four games, while Rajshahi must beat Chattogram to have any shot at the playoffs, which begins on Monday.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84