Team effort lifts Khulna to second place

Carlos Brathwaite played a vital role with the bat
Carlos Brathwaite played a vital role with the bat

Khulna Titans 174-6 (Nazmul 37) beat
Comilla Victorians 160-7 (Malik 36) by 14 runs
39th game, Bangladesh Premier League, Dhaka

Late flourish with the bat from Ariful Haque and Carlos Brathwaite proved vital as Khulna Titans completed a 14 run victory in their final league game against Comilla Victorians to claim a second place in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League.

Despite the defeat, Comilla Victorians have already sealed the top spot after managing eight wins from 11 games.

A 21-ball cameo from Nazmul Hossain Shanto (37) gave Khulna a fine start after they won the toss and opted to bat first, but he was dismissed in the final over of the power-play with the score reading 55 for one.

With regular fall of wickets, Khulna could only manage to score 69 runs in the next 10 overs with Michael Klinger (29), Mahmudullah (23) and Nicholas Pooran (8) failed to up the ante as Comilla bowlers dominated the middle phase of the innings.

However the much needed late flourish for Khulna came in the final three overs as a collective effort from Haque (35), Brathwaite (22) and Benny Howell (9 not-out) combined mustered 50 runs to lift the total to 174 for six in the 20 overs. Al-Amin Hossain (3-52) alone conceded 38 runs in his final two overs.

Comilla started the chase positively mustering 55 runs in the powerplay losing just the wicket of Solomon Mire (0). Tamim Iqbal (36) looked in good nick, but Imrul Kayes(20) struggled to get going.

Khulna made a strong comeback with the ball dismissing both the batsmen in the span of 11-deliveries. Jos Buttler (11) too found it difficult to score quickly and was caught at third man off Howell (2-32). Mahmudullah (1-22) and Afif Hossain (0-19) did their bit with the ball in keeping a tight lid on the scoring.

Shoaib Malik (36) though wasn't willing to go down without a fight. The 35-year old hit three sixes and a boundary, but Marlon Samuels(25 not-out) took his time to settle and could only manage to score 14 runs off the first 13 deliveries that he faced exerting pressure on his partner.

With Malik snared by Mohammad Irfan (1-26) in the 17th over, Abu Jayed(2-35) and Brathwaite (1-15) ensured they took Khulna to a 14-run victory, despite a late charge from Raqibul Hasan (17) and Samuels.

Haque was adjudged the man of the match for his crisp striking in the final overs which eventually made the difference.

© Cricket World 2017