Rajshahi Kings 185 for 7 (Sammy 47*, Wright 42, Saifuddin 3-50) beat Comilla Victorians 155 (Tamim 63, Malik 45, Sami 4-9) by 30 runs.
Rajshahi had seemed to be ambling towards a middling score, but blitzed 72 runs off 22 balls following Sammy’s arrival. They ended up with 185 for 7, with Sammy unbeaten on 47 off 14 balls. His strike-rate of 335.71 is the highest for a batsman to have struck more than 40 runs in a BPL innings.
Sammy tonked six sixes in total, four of which came in the last over that went for 32 runs. Mohammad Saifuddin, who had the misfortune of sending down that over, now holds the unenviable record of conceding the most runs in an over in BPL history.
Comilla recovered well from that late onslaught and were going well in the chase, with Tamim Iqbal and Shoaib Malik putting together an 87-run stand. But once Sami dismissed Tamim, the rest simply caved. It was similar to their bowling effort that came apart after a very good start.
Comilla hit back after early blows
Each of Rajshahi’s top four fell after getting their eye in. Dwayne Smith, who had got going with four punchy boundaries, was first to fall when he inside-edged Saifuddin onto the stumps after reaching out for an expansive drive. In the next over, Mominul Haque, who had raced away to a brisk start with five crisply-struck fours, paid the price for a moment’s hesitation. Mominul pushed the legspinner Rashid Khan behind point and Luke Wright called for a single straight away. Mominul, though, wasn’t as convinced and was felled by a direct hit at the non-striker’s end. Zakir Hasan found the bounce of an Al-Amin Hossain bouncer disconcerting and top-edged a pull that was snaffled by the bowler, before Imrul Kayes’ terrific catch at long-on ended Mushfiqur Rahim’s stay. From 43 for no loss, Rajshahi lost four wickets by the time they could double that score.
Wright keeps Rajshahi ticking
The gift of timing completely abandoned Luke Wright, who struggled for large parts of his 42. But to his credit, he gritted it out. After scratching around for 20 balls for his first 14 runs, Wright showed the first signs of acceleration by collecting 16 runs off his next six balls. That included two sublime fours through midwicket off successive deliveries against Al-Amin. He added 37 runs for the fifth wicket with James Franklin in quick time, before the latter fell leg-before to a Hasan Ali yorker. Wright fell in the following over, when his scoop found short fine leg. He fell eight short of a fifty but had kept Rajshahi intact till the 18th over before Sammy took over.
Sammy lays a brutal finishing touch
When Tamim Iqbal threw Saifuddin the ball for the final over, it was in the hope that he could finish off a job well-started. Saifuddin had figures of 3-0-18-3, but nothing could have prepared him for the onslaught he suffered at the hands of Sammy. His first delivery to Sammy was a fuller ball that came into him, and all Sammy had to do was help it on its way to deep backward square leg. The rest of the over was a generous mix of fuller deliveries, or worse still, full tosses that were shoveled with brute force. Saifuddin set out on a search for the wide yorker and instead fed to Sammy’s swinging arc and offered him ample room. To make matters worse, Saifuddin sent down two wides, extending Sammy’s party to an eight-ball over. Just last month, Saifuddin had suffered a similar shellacking at the hands of David Miller, who took him apart for five successive sixes in one over, in a T20 international against South Africa.
Comilla shrug off early stutter
Fakhar Zaman’s BPL debut lasted just five balls as he chopped Sami onto his stumps, and Imrul Kayes fell to a harsh lbw decision, with replays suggesting the ball would have missed leg – as Comilla lost two wickets in the first two overs of their chase.
Tamim and Malik then resurrected Comilla’s chase with an 87-run stand for the third wicket. It was broken when Malik’s stroke-filled 45 ended tamely. One ball after a stunning four that split short third man and backward point, Malik chipped a simple return catch to Dwayne Smith, leaving Comilla with 95 to get in 52 balls.
Comilla did not feel the pinch of Malik’s dismissal as much as Buttler picked up from where Malik left. With Tamim, he struck 34 runs in three overs to keep Comilla’s prospects alive. Tamim launched Hossain Ali over extra cover to bring up his fifty and the 4000th run of his T20 career while Buttler used his favoured reverse sweep to good effect.
Sami then got Tamim to skew an inside-out shot to deep point in the 15th over to open the gates. Alok Kapali perished two balls later when he swung across the line and lost his stumps. Sami then ended the over by having Saifuddin hole out to deep point. He gave away just one run in his last over to finish with 4 for 9 in four overs. His effort left Comilla with 32 to get from the last over, which was precisely how much Sammy hit in Rajshahi’s last over.
What they said
“Darren Sammy doing that made a huge difference. I think if we just got 150, we would have probably lost. And then Mohammad Sami with the ball was amazing, but I think Sammy put massive pressure on them, which helped take those wickets in the end.”