|| CF DESK ||
Fortune Barishal have secured Bangladesh Premier League (BPL)’s Final spot after beating Comilla Victorians in the first qualifier of the tournament as Barishal beat Comilla by 10 runs in Mirpur Monday.
Barishal, who topped the group stage points table, produced a disappointing 143/8, but their bowlers did well to restrict the opponents to 133/7 and secure the crucial win.
Comilla, who will face Chattogram Challengers, the winner of the eliminator, in the final, appeared to be in a good position while chasing the score, with their openers providing a solid foundation.
Liton Das and Mahmudul Hasan Joy put on a 62-run opening stand until Joy was dismissed for 20 off 30 in the 11th over by Mehedi Hasan Rana.
Shafiqul Islam, the most impressive left-arm seamer for Barishal, pulled his side back into the game in the very next over by dismissing Imrul Kayes (five) and Liton Das (38 off 35).
Comilla, on the other hand, retained their two experienced foreigners, Faf du Plessis and Moeen Ali, who appeared to keep the chase alive by adding 36 runs in 21 balls.
But, just when the duo appeared to be in command, Barishal's veteran campaigner Dwayne Bravo made the crucial breakthrough.
Moeen hit Bravo for six in the 15th over's opening ball, but Bravo bowled a fantastic fuller length delivery next up to knock the Englishman for 22 off 15.
With two experienced on the crease in Du Plessis and Sunil Narine, as well as the 25-year-old local paceman Rana bowling the penultimate over, Comilla would still be confident.
However, Rana, who was named player of the match for his brilliant return of 2/16 from four overs, demonstrated his mettle by conceding only two singles in the first two overs, including a Bravo drop catch of Narine, and then putting his side in the driving seat by dismissing Du Plessis for 21 in the next ball.
Despite Narine striking him for a six, Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahaman was left with 17 runs to defend after Rana's superb over.
After losing the toss, Barishal put on a quick fire opening stand of 58 off 38 balls before Chris Gayle was dismissed for 22 off 19.
Munim Shahriar, who has been one of the tournament's most impressive batters, was dismissed in the 10th over after reaching 44 runs.
Despite his departure, it appeared that Barishal would post a high total, but they lost their stride when Shakib al Hasan, who had been named man of the match in the previous five matches, ran himself out in the same over, followed by Nazmul Hassan Shanto.
Towhid Hirdoy was dismissed for one in the 13th over, and Barishal appeared to be in serious difficulty, but Bravo (17), Ziaur Rahman (17), and Nurul Hasan (11) scored runs to push the total above the 140-run barrier, which was eventually enough.