If the first innings belonged to Mohammad Mithun, the second surely belonged to Imrul Kayes. Two of the Bangladesh batsmen who failed drastically in the India tour managed to turn things around, but it was Imrul Kayes who tasted the sweet aroma of victory as Chattogram Challengers beat Sylhet Thunder by five wickets in the first match of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019.
Batting first, Mohammad Mithun's dazzling 84 helped Sylhet to pile up a good total of 162-4. In reply, Chattogram lost a flurry of wickets in the first half of the innings, but an 86-run stand between Imrul and Chadwick Walton ensured that the first points of the tournament went to the port city side.
Imrul Kayes was adjudged Man of the Match for his 61 off 38 deliveries.
Chasing 163, Chattogram started steadily. They were almost dealt a blow in the third over when Junaid Siddique chipped the ball in the air off Sohag Gazi but was dropped by Rony Talukder at deep mid-wicket.
Sohag was close to another wicket as Mosaddek reviewed for an LBW against Avishka, but hawkeye suggested that the ball was going to miss the stumps.
The breakthrough finally came for Sylhet in the fourth over when Nazmul Islam struck twice in two deliveries to reduce Chattogram to 20-2.
Avishka picked up 20 from Sohag's next over when he blasted a couple of fours and six, but was caught by Jeevan Mendis off Krishmar Santokie on 33 to see his side reduce to 42-3.
Santokie though, gave birth to controversy in his previous over when he bowled a wide way outside leg stump and then followed it up with a no-ball where he overstepped by quite some distance.
Sylhet skipper Mosaddek came into the attack in the ninth over and was greeted with a six by Imrul Kayes, but he struck back to send Ryan Burl back to the pavilion for only 3.
But that was only the start of the story as Imrul Kayes and Chadwick Walton put up a stand to both steady the ship and keep up with the asking rate. Their measured approach took Chattogram closer to the target with every passing delivery.
Imrul picked up his fifty off only 29 deliveries as he took his side closer to victory. He was finally picked up by Ebadot on 61, but by then the damage was already done as Chattogram were only 12 runs away from victory.
Chadwick, along with Nurul Hasan Sohan, ended the job with an over to go as the Caribbean stayed unbeaten on 49.
Nazmul picked up a couple of wickets for Sylhet, with Ebadot, Santokie and Mosaddek picking up one each.
Earlier after winning the toss, Chattogram skipper Rayad Emrit, filling in for their regular captain Mahmudullah Riyad who is injured, invited Sylhet Thunder to bat first.
Sylhet fielded a relatively young side, with their overseas players were Johnson Charles, Krishmar Santokie, Jeevan Mendis and Naveen-ul-Haq. Chattogram, on the other hand, fielded an experienced side with their overseas players being skipper Rayad Emrit, Avishka Fernando, Ryan Burl and Chadwick Walton.
Sylhet were dealt an early blow as their opener Rony Talukder was sent back by Rubel Hossain in their second over. Johnson Charles though, managed to steady the ship and accelerate along with Mohammad Mithun, who was slow to start.
Nasum Ahmed managed to go through Charles' defences to get rid of him on 35, but Mohammad Mithun continued from where Charles left. Jeevan Mendis, who came ahead of Sylhet skipper Mosaddek, had a brief stay at the pitch and was picked up on 4 by Chattogram captain Emrit.
Mosaddek came in at no.5 and struggled at the beginning but Mohammad Mithun was relentless on the other side. He hit three sixes in the 13th over off Nasum to skew the run rate of Sylhet. Adding insult to Nasum's injury, Junaid Siddique had dropped Mithun on 36 off Nasum. Mithun attempted a reverse sweep, only to mistime it and give a dolly to Junaid, who successfully failed to grab it.
Mithun picked up his fifty off only 30 deliveries and continued on his merry way. Mosaddek also gained momentum and Sylhet looked set for a good score.
But they lost their momentum after the second strategic timeout and it led to their run-rate drop a tad. Mosaddek got out for 29 in the final over of their innings, when Emrit took a brilliant catch at extra cover off Rubel to send his counterpart back.
Sylhet in the finished on 162-4 with Mohammad Mithun staying unbeaten on 84 off 48 deliveries. Rubel picked up a couple of wickets for Chattogram with Emrit and Nasum picking up one each.
The second match of the day is between Rangpur Rangers and Cumilla Warriors, starting at 6:30 PM BST.