Chattogram Challengers changed their skipper for the third time, juggled a lot with the batting order but in the end emerged victorious in their penultimate match in the league stage of the ongoing Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). The match went right down the wire and it was young Mrittunjoy Chowdhury who bowled a spectacular final over and defended eight runs to seal a three-run victory over Minister Dhaka.
Shamim Hossain was adjudged the player of the match for his first-ever half century in the tournament. His partnership with Benny Howell was the prime reason why Chattogram could post a challenging total on the board.
Asked to bat first, Chattogram Challengers batters were made to keep quiet in the early part of the innings. Fazalhaq Farooqi cleaned opener Zakir Hasan up with a quick delivery in the second over. Afif Hossain walked out at three to join the in-form Will Jacks.
Dhaka opening bowlers kept things tight, not allowing Jacks and Afif to score freely. They were 39 for one after the first six overs, their third-lowest in the powerplay this season.
Jacks was not at his best on a pitch that was on a slightly slower side. Arafat Sunny bowled at a smart line to have him stumped in the 8th over. Jacks made 26 off 24.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz and the well-set captain Afif threw their wickets away in quick succession, leaving Chattogram in tatters at 60 for four in the 10th over.
The fifth wicket stand between Shamim Hossain and Akbar Ali was not a very productive one either as the latter was dismissed after scoring nine. Benny Howell then paired up with Shamim, knocked it around for some time and started to accelerate. Shamim added 58 with Howell, the highest for the sixth wicket in the tournament.
Shamim raced to his second T20 fifty, his first in the tournament, off 34 balls and got his team's total beyond 140. Benny Howell's last-ball six meant they added 57 off the last five overs and finished with 148 for six. Howell was unbeaten on 24 off 19.
All the bowlers bowling for Dhaka took one wicket each.
Dhaka did not have the best of starts as opener Mohammad Shahzad and Imranuzzaman got out quickly. Mashrafe Mortaza was promoted at number four to score some quick runs but the gamble did not pay off either. The hosts were 28 for three in the first overs, their lowest in the tournament while chasing.
Onus was on Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah to bring the chase back on track. Tamim could have been dismissed in the 11th over had Akbar not missed a stumping opportunity off Miraz. The southpaw smashed two boundaries in the same over to rub salt to the wound.
Mahmudullah got out after scoring 24 off 29 as Shamim and Howell combined to take a spectacular catch at the boundary. Their partnership yielded 71 off 9.5 overs.
Shuvagata Hom and Tamim brought the equation down to 14 off 11 balls but Shoriful Islam redeemed himself to outfox the former with a slower ball. Tamim was lucky to get the ball away for a streaky boundary in the last ball of the penultimate over. They required nine off the final over.
Mrittunjoy Chowdhury was entrusted with the job of defending eight in the 20th over and the left-arm seamer bowled three dots up front including the wicket of Qais Ahmed.
Naim ran a single off the fourth delivery to bring Tamim back on strike. But Mrittunjoy bowled one of the best deliveries of the match - a yorker - and they ran a bye. The youngster had to defend six off the final ball but drama intensified as he bowled a no-ball. But he held his nerves to bowl another full and straight delivery to deny Dhaka a victory. Tamim remained unbeaten on 73 off 56. Mrittunjoy finished with two for 21.