Tamim Iqbal special hands Comilla Victorians second BPL title




Tamim Iqbal's knock of 141* was studded with 11 sixes.

Tamim Iqbal’s knock of 141* was studded with 11 sixes. © BCB

The Dhaka Dynamites can pat themselves on the back in the name of consistency. They’ve afterall played in three finals in the four years of their existence. But the ghosts of the 2017 season returned in an all-too-familiar form and haunted them again as they finished second-best for the second season in a row, handing Comilla Victorians their second BPL title.

The final came to life after it appeared Andre Russell had pulled off one of the finest catching efforts of the season, in the ninth over. Except, he didn’t as the replays showed that he’d pouched a bump ball. At that stage after nine overs, Comilla Victorians were yet to force the pace of the game after being asked to bat first by Shakib Al Hasan, as they ambled along at a gentle scoring rate of seven-an-over.

Whether or not that dramatic phase of play was a trigger is inconclusive, but a switch seemed to have been flicked within Tamim as he moved from 34 off 24 to a half-century off just 31. His more passive batting partner – Anamul Haque though, walked off for a forgettable 30-ball 24.

More brilliance on the field shortly after, earning the Dynamites a wicket this time. It came via a superb effort from Shakib Al Hasan – a direct throw caught Shamsur Rahman short of his crease after a bit of miscommunication with Tamim. Rahman had every reason to be miffed with Tamim, but the latter made it up with a sensational batting performance.

From 70 off 41, Tamim took another forward leap by going after Rubel Hossain in the 15th over. Imrul Kayes turned over the strike on the first ball and watched the fun as Tamim collected 22 runs off the next five – hitting two fours and two sixes.

Tamim zoomed into the 90s while improving Victorians’ scoring rate, but Sunil Narine calmed the chaos with a two-run over in the 16th to finish with figures of 4-11-18-0. Tamim made up for that in the post-time out over from Andre Russell –, 22 runs.

During this carnage, Tamim went past his three-figure score off just the 50th ball he faced and eventually finished unbeaten on 141 – an essay laced with 10 fours and 11 sixes. Tamim’s knock was just five short of the best individual score in a T20 tournament final, held by Chris Gayle. That too, incidentally, came against the same opposition in the 2017 season.

Victorians got as many as 85 runs in the last six overs to task Dhaka Dynamites with a chase of 200 runs.

If Tamim’s 141* wasn’t enough, Sunil Narine fell off the second ball of the run chase – an excellent run out by fast bowler Mohammad Saifuddin. But Upul Tharanga and Rony Talukdar ensured the Dynamites wouldn’t fold – not that early in the chase at least.

It started from the last ball of the very first over when Tharanga flicked Saifuddin for the first six of the innings. Talukdar proved to be the more dominant batting partner the remaining five overs of the PowerPlay, as he stood tall with an undefeated 20-ball 40 with Dynamites still on course in chase with 71 runs.

The flurry of boundaries continued even as more fielders protected the fence. The partnership threatened to make mincemeat of what should’ve been a tough chase, until Thisara Perera arrived at the scene. He broke the partnership in his very first over, sending Tharanga back for a 27-ball 48. Yet, at the half-way stage, Dynamites had more than what they needed to polish off in the second half of their chase.

Victorians needed another break in the run of play to regain the upper hand, and Wahab Riaz provided just that with Shakib Al Hasan’s scalp in the 12th over. In just the next over, wicketkeeper Anamul Haque showed his awareness, agility and very good target-hitting skills as Talukdar’s attempt to cheekily steal a single after dabbing the ball on the leg side resulted in his ouster. Talukdar’s exit ramped up the pressure on the chasers, but it also brought Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell together in the middle for the last eight overs.

That proposition didn’t quite turn out like the Dynamites would’ve liked as Russell mistimed a short ball from Perera to trudge off for just four off three deliveries. Pollard soon followed suit after another unimpressive outing with the bat, leaving the lower-order to try and pull off 58 runs in the last four overs. Dynamites lost their seventh wicket in the 17th over, but the attempt to drag the game till the end was still on.

Mahmadul Hasan gave Victorians a reason to sweat in the dying moments as he carted two successive sixes off the last two balls of the Perera over in the 18th over, and began the 19th in similar vein. But, the target still proved to be too much to attain for Dynamites as they fell short by 17 runs.

Brief Scores: Comilla Victorians 199/3 in 20 overs (Tamim Iqbal 141) beat Dhaka Dynamites 182/9 in 20 overs (Rony Talukdar 66, Upul Tharanga 48; Wahab Riaz 3-28) by 17 runs

© Cricbuzz

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