Comilla Victorians defeated defending champions Rangpur Riders in the Qualifier-1 of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Monday to storm the February 8 final.
The Riders posted 165 for five in 20 overs in their innings while the Victorians chased it down in 18.5 overs with the help of Evin Lewis’ unbeaten 71 off 53 deliveries.
Now, the Riders have to play the Qualifier-2 against Dhaka Dynamites who won against Chittagong Vikings in the Eliminator earlier in the day. The Qualifier-2 will take field on February 6 at 6:30pm.
The Victorians started chasing the target of 166 on a positive note when Tamim Iqbal and Evin Lewis put 35 runs on board in the opening partnership.
However, Tamim failed to execute his start properly as he fell for 17 off 14 deliveries with one four and one six. He was dismissed by Mashrafe Bin Mortaza.
Tamim went to steer Mashrafe towards the leg side but he was beaten by the pace and skied the ball. Benny Howell took an easy catch to remove the number-one opener of the Victorians.
Tamim’s dismissal was not a source of worry for the Victorians as Lewis and Anamul added 90 runs in the second wicket stand. Anamul struck 39 off 32 balls with two fours and as many as sixes to his name. He was playing with great concentration but failed to continue as he fell for 39.
Despite losing two partners from the other end, Lewis kept the scoreboard afloat. He remained unbeaten on 71 off 53 with five fours and three sixes. Along with Lewis, Shamsur Rahman also displayed his batting prowess as he struck 34 off 15 with four fours and two sixes to his credit. They left the field ensuring the final for the Victorians after two seasons of BPL.
Mashrafe and Shafiul Islam took one wicket each for the Riders.
Earlier, the Riders posted 165 for five in 20 overs with the help of Benny Howell’s fiery fifty.
The Englishman, Howell, struck 53 off 28 balls while Chris Gayle posted 46 and Rilee Rossouw hit 44 for the Riders.
The Riders lost the first wicket when Mehedi Maruf tried to clear Wahab Riaz through the leg side, but he only skied the ball and Sanjit Saha moved a bit from his position to take an easy catch.
They lost the second wicket when Mohammad Mithun and Chris Gayle created a complete mess in the middle. Gayle was in the strike, and he poked a delivery of Sanjit to the cover and ran for a single. Mithun was confused, but he did not stop running. Gayle was also confused, and he ran towards the opposite end after stopping once in the middle of the wicket.
Victorians’ fielder threw the ball to keeper’s end first, and Anamul Haque broke the stump before throwing it to the bowling end, and the bowler broke the stumps at the non-striker’s end as well. TV replays showed it was right at the end of the wicketkeeper, and the third umpire switched on the red light to Mithun’s dismissal.
Gayle managed to keep his wicket alive in this incident, and he also escaped when Mehedi Hasan failed to grab a catch when Gayle was on 45. But one run later, Gayle skied Mehedi Hasan to the straight boundary, and Thisara Perera took a high catch. The Carribean batting star hit 46 off 44 balls with six fours and one six.
Ravi Bopara was the fourth man to get dismissed for the Riders. He played nine balls and scored only three. Sanjit Saha was the bowler to bag the wicket of Ravi.
After losing four wickets, Rilee Rossouw and Benny Howell added 70 runs in the fifth wicket stand. The partnership came to an end when Rossouw skied a catch off Saifuddin, and Anamul Haque took it.
The South African recruit of the Riders ended scoring 44 off 31 balls with four fours and two sixes.
However, the best innings of the Riders was played by Benny Howell. He struck 53 off 28 balls with three fours and five sixes. He helped the Riders post 74 in the last five overs.
Saifuddin, Mehedi, Sanjit and Wahab Riaz took one wicket each for the Victorians.