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Comilla Victorians win fourth BPL title

A six-laden knock of Charles Johnson was complemented by Liton Das’s serene innings as Comilla Victorians crushed Sylhet Strikers by seven wickets in the final to clinch their fourth Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) trophy on Thursday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.

Sylhet Strikers posted 175-7 after being asked to bat first, a total that looked daunting in high profile game but Johnson and Liton made the chase a cake-walk, steering the side to victory with four balls to spare.

After clinching the title, Comilla solely emerged as the most successful franchisees in BPL history, securing the coveted trophy for four times in nine editions.

Dhaka franchise under the name of Dhaka Gladiators and Dhaka Dynamites won it three times. This was also the second straight BPL trophy for Imrul Kayes-led Comilla. Having done so, Comilla gave BPL’s most successful captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza a first defeat in the final of the tournament.

As a captain Mashrafe won BPL trophy four times and looked to lift it for the fifth time but Johnson and Liton ruined his party.

Johnson smashed a 52 ball-79 not out, clobbering seven fours and five sixes while Liton hammered 55 off 39 with seven fours and one six. They combined for a 70-run for the third wicket stand to set up the tune after Comilla were reduced to 34-2.

Sylhet could have made it tougher for Comilla had Rubel Hossain not dropped Johnson at deep square leg off George Linde when he was on just 8.

The Caribbean start looked shaky in his approach initially but Liton drove the side, batting with utmost confidence that made the Sylhet bowlers disarray. But Rubel Hossain who took highest 2-39 for Sylhet had Liton caught by Najmul Hossain Shanto to bring the side back in the contest.

Johnson then rejuvenated him, taking the bowlers in utmost disdain and showed how power-hitting could alone snatch the game in T20 format. His six-hitting spree was hard pill to swallow for Sylhet bowlers as they became hapless against sheer power-hitting.

Moeen Ali accompanied him with 17 ball-25 not out as Comilla effortlessly sealed the deal. Only Linde could stamp some authority against Comilla batters with 1-14 in four overs.

Earlier, Mushfiqur Rahim found his elusive form when it mattered most as he struck 48 ball-74 not out to help Sylhet Strikers compile a hefty total.

Najmul Hossain Shanto continued his rich vein of form, playing a 45 ball-64 runs knock which gave Mushfiqur an ably support in the most crucial game of the tournament.

The duo shared a 79-run for the third wicket stand to set up a strong platform of big total after Sylhet were left to precarious 26-2.

Sylhet though scored 18 runs in the first over, thanks to Shanto, Comilla quickly hit back, through left-arm spinner Tanvir Ahmed whose quicker delivery gave inform Towhid Hridoy a second-ball-duck.

In the last two matches, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s strategy to move him up in the batting order worked well but this time it backfired as he was dismissed by Andre Russell for 1.

However with caution and aggression, Shanto and Mushfiqur helped the side get back on the track, making Comilla’s much-vaunted bowling line up disarray.

Moeen Ali broke the partnership, rattling the stump of Shanto after he smashed nine fours and one six for his knock.

Mushfiqur remained unfazed as he steered the side before blasting the bowlers in emphatic way in the last powerplay.

Thanks to his onslaught, Sylhet scored 50 runs in the last five overs to set up a good total. Mushfiqur struck five fours and three sixes in his knock.

Ryan Burl was the only other batter for Sylhet to reach double digit mark with 13.

Mustafizur Rahman was the most successful bowler for Comilla with 2031 while Russell, Tanvir, Sunil Narine aand Moeen Ali took one wicket apiece.