Gemcon Khulna won the battle of supremacy in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup as they beat Gazi Group Chattogram by 5 runs in the final at Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur on Friday.
Mahmudullah led from the front with his match-winning knock of 70 not-out. His bowlers supported him really well and made the going very tough for Chattogram batsmen.
Chasing a target of 156, the successful pair of Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar did not click as the latter was undone by an arm delivery from Shuvagata Hom in the 4th over. Skipper Mohammad Mithun failed to deliver, getting out for only 7 in the 5th over.
Khulna bowlers did not let the batsmen off the hook and put pressure on them by drying up the boundaries. It was that pressure which got the better of Liton Das, the mainstay of Chattogram batting line-up. The wicketkeeper-batsman was run-out in the 9th over with the score being 51 for three. Shohidul Islam, the fast bowler, affected the run-out off his own bowling.
Shamsur Rahman and Shykat Ali kept the scoreboard ticking over with a 45-run partnership off 34 for the fourth wicket. But the required run rate kept on creeping up and eventually, the target proved too many for Chattogram.
Shykat Ali kept them in the game till the final over but his valiant knock of 53 off 45 was not enough. Eventually, Chattogram fell short by 5 runs.
Shohidul Islam, who defended 16 in the last over successfully, was the pick of the bowlers. He right arm seamer used his variations to great effect and got two wickets as well as affected the run-out of Liton Das. Hasan Mahmud was also impressive with the ball, especially in the slog overs.
Batting second has been in vogue winning the toss and Mohammad Mithun did exactly so. His decision paid dividends as Chattogram found immediate success. Jahurul Islam, who played brilliantly well for his 80 in the first qualifier, ballooned the ball and Mosaddek Hossain took a regulation catch in the very first ball of the match. Imrul Kayes, coming in at three, hit a six but couldn't carry on for a long time. The southpaw played an inconsiderate shot and holed out at long-off. Nahidul Islam, the off-spinner, accounted for both the wickets.
Opener Zakir Hasan played decently for his 25 off 20 but played a poor shot off a nothing delivery from Mosaddek Hossain and got himself dismissed in the 7th over with score being 43 for three.
Gemcon Khulna needed some rebuilding to do and it was done by Ariful Haque and the skipper Mahmudullah. These two put on a useful 40 off 32 balls before Ariful tried to get the ball over the keeper Liton Das but edged it to him instead in the 12th over.
Despite losing his partner, Mahmudullah carried on. There was a sedate period from overs 16-19 where Khulna could manage only 28 runs. But Mahmudullah pounced on Soumya Sarkar in the 20th over and smashed 17 runs. His unbeaten 70 off 48 deliveries with the help of eight fours and two sixes propelled Khulna to 155 for seven after 20 overs.
Nahidul Islam was superb in the powerplay, picking up two wickets in three overs. He went for only 19 runs. Shoriful Islam was again among the wickets as the left-arm seamer took a couple. Mustafizur Rahman also got a wicket, conceding 24 runs only. Left-arm spinner Rakibul Hasan bowled economically despite not getting any wicket.