Opener Mahmudul Hasan Joy struck a sublime 50 ball-65 as Comilla Victorians became the second team to confirm the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) playoff after their four-wicket victory against Sylhet Sunrisers at Sylhet Cricket Stadium today.
Fortune Barishal, the table topper so far, was the first team to move into the playoff. By winning the game against Sylhet, who were already eliminated from the race, Comilla retained their second spot with 11 points from eight matches. Barishal had 13 points from nine games.
Sylhet's Colin Ingram fell short of his century for the consecutive second day but his 89 runs was key in helping Sylhet to post a respectable 169-5 after being sent to bat first. But Joy, who clobbered seven fours and two sixes for his 65 off 50, trumped his knock to guide Comilla to a win with 173-6 with a ball to spare.
Ingram earlier yesterday struck a 90 against Barishal, a knock that also came in a losing-cause.
Comilla made a horrible start to the chase as they lost inform Liton Das (7) and Faf du Plessis (2) in quick succession that left them to a tricky 22-2.
But Joy looked brimming with confidence as he hit the bowlers all corners of the park right from the start. He got an able support in Moeen and together they put Comilla on top with an 82-run partnership.
After hitting 46 off 35, that included four fours and two sixes, Moeen was undone by a slower delivery of Sylhet captain Ravi Bopara. Joy kept the side unscathed but captain Imrul Kayes was removed for 16. However, Alauddin Babu took the prized scalp of Joy and then took out Ariful Haque for duck in the consecutive deliveries.
After losing those three wickets in the space of 17 runs, Comilla seemed to have lost the plot but a whirlwind batting of Sunil Narine who blasted 12 ball-24 not out quelled all fear.
Abu Hider Rony then struck a boundary to confirm Comilla's victory with one ball remaining.
Colin Ingram and Anamul Haque Bijoy earlier gave the side a terrific start, sharing 105 runs for the opening stand that raised the prospect of amassing 200 plus on the board. But that was not to be as Ingram got hardly any support after Bijoy was dismissed by Mustafizur Rahman for 46 off 33, studded by four fours and three sixes.
The likes of Lendl Simmons, Ravi Bopara and Alauddin Babu failed to hit big shots toward the end and so they were left satisfied with a total that was not enough, especially when dew came into the play.
Ingram was dismissed in the last over after hitting nine fours and three sixes for his 63 ball-89.
Mustafizur Rahman returned to form with 3-23 from his four overs while Sunil Narine and Tanvir Islam took one wicket apiece.