Comilla Victorians returned to the winning way in the Bangladesh Premier League when they beat Rajshahi Kings by five wickets at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Friday.
After a nine-wicket thrashing in the previous match, in which Comilla were dismissed for 63 runs, the former champions regrouped strongly to bowl out Rajshahi for a modest 124 runs in 18.5 overs.
Anamul Haque then scored highest 40 off 32 balls and put 65-run with Evin Lewis (28) in the opening stand before Comilla reached 130-5 in 18.4 overs with a painfully ugly batting display for their second win in third match.
Afghan leg-spinner Qais Ahmed sent back Lewis to give Rajshahi their first breakthrough while Anamul was run out after a mix-up with Tamim Iqbal, who surprisingly came in one-down position.
Tamim hoisted a catch to Laurie Evans off Mehedi Hasan at long off after making 21 off 25 balls and the run out of Shoaib Malik for two and Imrul Kayes’ leg-before dismissal to Mustafizur Rahman for six added a late twist in the game.
But Liam Dawson (12 not out) and Shahid Afridi (nine not out) took them home without further damage.
New Comilla captain Imrul, who took the helm after the departure of Steve Smith, earlier won the toss and elected to bowl first and the decision paid off as their bowlers kept striking at regular intervals.
Mohammad Saifuddin took the first two wickets off successive deliveries when he trapped Mominul Haque (three) leg-before and bowled Soumya Sarkar for a duck in just the third over of the innings.
Skipper Mehedi, who promoted himself in the opening slot after scoring a fifty in one-down position in the previous match, provided a counterpunch by hitting six fours to score 30 off 17 balls before Kings lost their way.
Liam Dawson and Afridi removed Mohammad Hafeez and Mehedi in the space of three balls and Comilla soon reduced Rajshahi from 53-2 to 63-7 to take a complete control in the game.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Zakir Hossain offered some resistance to score 27 off 26 balls before Isuru Udana’s 30-ball 32 helped Kings past 100-run mark, though it came inadequate.
Afridi claimed highest three wickets for Comilla, giving away just 10 runs in his four overs while Saifuddin, Dawson, who replaced injured Smith and Abu Hider each claimed two wickets.
Comilla will face Chittagong Vikings in their next match on Sunday while Rajshahi will take on Rangpur Riders on the same day.
Rajshahi Kings innings
Mominul lbw b Saifuddin3
Mehedi lbw b Afridi 30
Soumya b Saifuddin 0
Hafeez b Dawson 16
Zakir lbw b Dawson 27
LJ Evans lbw b Afridi 0
Fazle run out 3
Qais b Afridi0
Udana c Mahedi b Hider32
Sunny c Afridi b Hider 4
Mustafiz not out 1
Extras (lb 1, nb 2, w 5) 8
Total (all out, 18.5 Overs) 124
Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-20, 3-53, 4-53, 5-53, 6-62, 7-63, 8-93, 9-108, 10-124
Hider 2.5 0 37 2
Mahedi 4 0 22 0
Saifuddin 3 0 25 2
Shahid 1 0 12 0
Dawson 4 0 17 2
Afridi 4 1 10 3
Comilla Victorians innings
Anamul run out 40
E Lewis c Mominul b Qais 28
Tamim c Evans b Mehedi21
Imrul lbw b Mustafiz 6
Malik run out 2
Afridi not out 9
Dawson not out 12
Extras (lb 5, w 7) 12
(five wickets, 18.4 Overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-65, 2-87, 3-101, 4-109, 5-109
Mehedi 4 0 33 1
Hafeez 3 0 20 0
Sunny 1 0 7 0
Qais 4 0 21 1
Mustafiz 3.4 0 24 1
Udana 3 0 20 0
Result: Comilla Victorians won by 5 wickets
Man of the match: Shahid Afridi (Comilla Victorians)
Toss: Comilla Victorians