Benny Howell's late flourish and captain Mehidy Hasan Miraz's four-for were not enough for Chattogram Challengers as Fortune Barishal emerged victorious in the first match of the 2022 Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). Barishal batters almost made things difficult for themselves but the unbroken 34-run partnership of 22 balls between Ziaur Rahman and Dwayne Bravo ensured that they won by four wickets.
Earlier, Fortune Barishal captain Shakib Al Hasan won the toss and elected to field first. Nayeem Hasan opened the bowling for the Barishal team and was welcomed with a maximum by Kennar Lewis. But the off-spinner had the last laugh as Nayeem sent Lewis back in the third ball of the match.
Afif Hossain was the second batter to go. The southpaw was caught behind off Alzarri Joseph in the fourth over.
Will Jacks got off to a start but could not convert it into a substantial one. When he was adjudged leg-before off Jake Lintott, Challengers were tottering at 42 for four in the ninth over.
Lack of partnerships hurt Chattogram big time. Sabbir Rahman hit two boundaries first up coming in at four but could not carry on further. Skipper Mehidy Hasan Miraz's 20-ball-9 did not help either. Shamim Hossain did not get going as well, scoring an 18-ball-15.
Benny Howell and Naeem Islam built a 32-run stand for the seventh wicket before the latter played a wild hoick to get out caught off Joseph. This was the most productive partnership of the innings.
After the fall of Naeem, Howell took Joseph to task and got a much-needed move on by hitting two fours and a six in the same over.
Howell was dismissed in the final over by Dwayne Bravo. The right-hander was the top scorer of the innings with 41 off just 20 balls. His innings was the prime reason why Chattogram could put 125 for eight after 20 overs despite a horrible start.
Alzarri Joseph picked up three wickets for 32 runs. Nayeem Hasan picked up a couple and the other bowlers - Shakib, Lintott and Bravo - picked up one each.
In reply, the Challengers got the start they were after with the ball. Skipper Miraz cleaned up Najmul Hossain Shanto in the second over of the innings.
They put the batters under a bit of pressure initially but Shoriful Islam got hit for two boundaries in the fifth over and released it to some extent. Shakib hit Miraz for a four in the next over but was cleaned up the next ball, leaving his team under some pressure again at 28 for two in the sixth over.
After Shakib's departure, opener Shykat Ali steadied the ship with a 34-run partnership with Towhid Hridoy before Mukidul Islam broke the stand by dismissing the latter for 16. At that point, Barishal needed 64 off 53 with seven wickets in hand.
Shoriful once again released the pressure by giving away 12 runs in the 14th over. Shykat hit Miraz for a six in the next over but lost his wicket in the very next delivery. That put an end to the 30-run partnership between him and Sukkur.
Immediately after Shykat's dismissal, Sukkur got out leg-before while attempting a reverse sweep off Miraz.
That over yielded another wicket as Salman Hossain was run out by an Afif Hossain direct throw and suddenly Barishal were 92 for three to 92 for six.
Ziaur Rahman smashed two boundaries and a maximum off Mukidul in the 17th over and brought the equation down to only 12 off three overs. As many as 18 came off that over.
Barishal got over the line with eight balls in hand. Mehidy Hasan Miraz was the best bowler for the Challengers with four for 16. But in the end it did not prove to be enough.