The Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BBPL) saw arguably its most exciting game yesterday, with Cumilla Warriors tailender Mujeeb ur Rahman striking a boundary off the last ball, when three runs were needed to win, to seal a two-wicket victory over table-toppers Chattogram Challengers at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
Interestingly, Cumilla initially sent Sunzamul Islam out to bat when skipper Dawid Malan was run out off the penultimate ball of the match, but the team management had a last-minute change of heart and sent Mujeeb to face the last delivery, and the Afghanistan spinner struck a Liam Plunkett full-toss for the winning boundary.
With three wins in eight games, Cumilla kept their hopes alive for a play-off spot while Chattogram are still at the top of the points table with six wins from nine games.
For much of Cumilla’s chase of Chattogram’s 159 for six, it seemed that Cumilla would coast home. They needed 26 off the last four overs with seven wickets in hand with a well-set Malan at the crease on 66. But Cumilla dug a hole for themselves with some poor batting, losing four wickets and scoring just 10 runs in the next three overs, leaving 16 to win off the last over.
Abu Hider took a single off the first ball of the last over to give Malan back the strike. The left-hander also took a single as things started to look difficult for Cumilla, with 14 needed off the last four balls.
Hider then went for a big shot over wide long on, where Nasum Ahmed not only dropped the catch but also failed to save a boundary. Hider then launched a huge six off Plunkett, and off the fourth ball scurried a bye after missing the ball.
There was still some more drama left as Malan was run out for 74 off 51 balls while trying to take a double. But Mujeeb then made sure that Cumilla’s collapse would not cost them.
Cumilla’s chase started off well with South African opener Stiaan van Zyl scoring four boundaries at the start of the innings, but it didn’t last long as the left-hander fell after scoring 22 off 12 balls.
His partner Robiul Islam also departed for 17 as Malan then took charge, but Cumilla kept losing wickets at the other end. After scoring his second fifty of the BPL in the previous game, Soumya Sarkar failed to deliver and departed for six while Sabbir Rahman once again disappointed, scoring 18 runs.
Earlier, despite the 103-run opening stand between Junaid Siddique and Lendl Simmons after being asked to bat first, the rest of Chattogram’s innings lacked impetus.
Simmons was the first to depart after scoring 54 off 34 balls with the help of five fours and two sixes while Junaid followed him soon after, scoring 45 off 37 balls.
Chattogram then lost a flurry of wickets, before Ziaur Rahman’s unbeaten 21-ball 34 run – which featured four sixes — eventually helped the side post 159 for six .