The Report by Peter Della Penna
Rangpur Riders 67 for 1 (Maruf 36*) beat Comilla Victorians 63 (Afridi 25, Mashrafe 4-11, Nazmul 3-20) by nine wickets
How the game played out
A bad start quickly turned ugly for Comilla Victorians, who failed to adjust after a wonky Powerplay on the way to being bowled out for the fourth lowest first-innings total in six editions of the Bangladesh Premier League. Rangpur Riders are now responsible for dishing out three of the four worst maulings, and on this occasion it was their captain who meted out the heaviest punishment.
Mashrafe Mortaza backed up his decision to field first at the toss by striking thrice in his first three overs to put Comilla under heavy pressure. Rather than hold one of his overs back for the end of the innings, Mashrafe opted to go for the jugular of Comilla’s lineup. It paid off as he claimed his opposite number Steven Smith in the seventh, capping off an unbroken four-over spell with a wicket-maiden to leave Comilla reeling at 18 for 5. Rangpur never let up.
Ravi Bopara’s sensational over the shoulder catch sprinting back from point to dismiss Imrul Kayes in the fifth showed Rangpur were on top of their game
Shahid Afridi kept Comilla’s faint pulse going at the crease but two balls after surviving a chance at long-on spilled over the rope for six, he failed to make the most of a second life and slashed a catch to Chris Gayle at short third man
Nazmul Islam pulled out his imaginary bow and arrow to shoot out the tail with three wickets, ensuring Mashrafe’s spell wasn’t wasted
Star of the day
No looking past Mashrafe. After his recent success on the political campaign trail, he turned in his T20 career-best, claiming a who’s who of domestic and foreign stars: Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Evin Lewis and Smith. Tamim fell on a flat drive to mid-on while the other three perished miscuing skied drives, indicative of a slightly stop-start pitch.
The big miss
Rangpur’s only major misfire on the day was a comical one as Sohag Gazi demanded Mashrafe burn their only review in the fourth over for a supposed lbw appeal on a quicker ball that hurried Lewis off the back foot. Replays showed Lewis smashing the ball straight out of the middle of the bat to cover.
Where the teams stand
Rangpur join Dhaka Dynamites at the top of the table on four points, although they have played one more match than Dhaka. Comilla sit even with Chittagong Vikings in third place with two points, though Vikings have a game in hand.