Rubel Hossain, Rayad Emrit keep Chattogram in finals contention

Chattogram Challengers 147 for 3 (Gayle 38, Mahmudullah 34*) beat Dhaka Platoon 144 for 8 (Shadab 64*, Emrit 3-23) by seven wickets

Chattogram Challengers ensured themselves a second crack at the BPL final, after they beat Dhaka Platoon by seven wickets, in the Eliminator match. Rayad Emrit, Rubel Hossain and Nasum Ahmed set up their win, picking up seven wickets in the first 12.4 overs, before Imrul Kayes and Mahmudullah completed the chase with 14 balls to spare.

Chris Gayle played the anchor role for a change as Ziaur Rahman and Kayes hit five sixes and four boundaries between them, to power Chattogram to 91 in the first 12.3 overs, before Mahmudullah hammered four sixes in his unbeaten 34 off just 14 balls to complete the chase.

But Chattogram would have to thank their bowlers for restricting Dhaka to a middling 144 for 8 in 20 overs, which ultimately gave them the easy chase.

Rubel v Tamim

Dhaka fell into early trouble when Rubel pinned Tamim Iqbal to the crease in the first over of the match. After surviving a caught-behind shout off the first ball, Rubel delivered a superb yorker as well nearly trapping the left-hander lbw. Rubel would have to wait until the following over to get his man as Tamim fell for 3 off 10 balls.

Emrit’s two-wicket over

With Dhaka in early strife, Chattogram sensed the chance to take control of proceedings. Emrit, a BPL regular despite a lack of noteworthy performances, struck twice in his second over. First he removed the dangerous Mahedi Hasan, and followed it up with the dismissal of Jaker Ali next ball, caught behind for a duck. To top off a fine bowling performance, Emrit removed Mominul Haque to reduce Dhaka to 52 for 6 in the 11th over, before finishing with superb figures of 3 for 23 off his four overs.

Shadab’s late charge

Dhaka have been sending Shadab up the order in many of the matches but it was only in this game when the Pakistan allrounder gave them a batting boost. When his compatriot Asif Ali fell in the 13th over, Dhaka were 60 for 7, but Shadab picked things up with a 41-ball unbeaten 64. He struck five fours and three sixes, most of them coming in the last three overs in which Dhaka took 51 runs. Shadab’s contribution, much of which came in the two 40-odd stands he had with Thisara Perera and Mashrafe Mortaza, gave Dhaka some breathing space with a 144-run total.

Kayes faster than Gayle

It was a remarkable sight: Kayes dominating a 49-run stand with Gayle. But by the time he fell to Shadab in the 13th over, Chattogram had set themselves a good platform in the chase. Kayes made 32 of the 49 runs, having struck three sixes and a four in his 22-ball knock. Gayle only contributed 13 runs to the partnership, before falling for 38 off 49 balls in an innings that wasn’t very Gayle-esque.

Mashrafe’s one-handed catch

Fielding at short fine-leg, Dhaka captain Mashrafe must have hoped that none of Gayle’s swipes or sweeps come his way. Mashrafe had injured his left hand in Dhaka’s previous game, requiring 14 stitches. He had faced two deliveries during his 40-run unbroken ninth wicket stand with Shadab, and had bowled four overs.

But for any cricketer with a hand injury, fielding must be the most traumatic experience. Mashrafe was at least lucky that the Gayle catch was off a top-edge, and struck quite tamely. He put out his right hand, and took it one-handed, much to the crowd’s delight. It was all too late though as his opposite number Mahmudullah took care of the business of chasing down the moderate total.