Even with some heroics from Sabbir Rahman, Cumilla Warriors could not clinch a victory against Khulna Tigers as Robbie Frylinck starred with the ball to pick up a fifer and almost ensured a playoff spot for Khulna in the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019.
This win means that Khulna now have 12 points in the bag with two matches still to go whereas Cumilla now have 10 points with one game to go.
Winning the toss, Cumilla skipper Dawid Malan decided to field and invited Khulna to bat first. Batting first, courtesy of a brilliant opening stand and some lively hitting from Rilee Rossouw, Khulna piled up 179-2.
Chasing 180, Cumilla came out with a surprise as they sent in Sabbir Rahman to open the innings. It looked a good decision as Sabbir helped Cumilla notch up 44 in the powerplay but lost a couple of wickets. Stiaan Van Zyl was dismissed by Robbie Frylinck as Shafiul Islam took a brilliant catch and in the very next over, Shafiul struck to send Cumilla skipper Malan back for 1. Malan had been the stronghold of Cumilla's batting this season as the English batsman is the highest run-scorer this time around and Khulna managed to send him back early.
Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman's stand was looking ominous for Khulna but Robbie Frylinck came in with a double-wicket maiden and changed the game on its head. In the first delivery of the 11th over, he sent Soumya back for 22 before rattling Mahidul Islam Ankon's stumps to bring Khulna back in the game.
Sabbir went on to pick up his fifty off 33 deliveries consisting of five fours and two sixes. He and Yasir Ali Chowdhury unleashed themselves on Aliss Al Islam as they took 16 off the youngsters over to bring the asking rate below 10.
Sabbir and Yasir's quickfire partnership of 48 off 24 deliveries swung the balance again in Cumilla's favour before Rossouw took a good catch off Mohammad Amir's bowling to send Sabbir back for 62. Cumilla's hopes were dealt another telling blow as Shohidul Islam struck twice in the 17th over to send back Yasir and Abu Hider Rony. Yasir was sent back in the first delivery of the over for 27 off 15 deliveries before clattering Rony's stumps with a yorker.
Cumilla's final hopes were diminished when Frylinck dismissed David Wiese in the next over with still 35 to get from 15 deliveries. Frylinck picked up his fifth wicket of the match when he sent Sunzamul Islam in the next delivery and Amir cleaned it up in the next over to ensure a 34-run win for the Tigers.
Earlier, Khulna were brought a good start by the openers Nazmul Hossain and Shanto and Mehidy Hasan Miraz as they notched up 44 in the powerplay. Their stand of 71 eventually broke when Soumya Sarkar struck to pick up Shanto for 38 as his 12th scalp of the tournament.
Mehidy was the next to go in the 13th over as David Wiese managed to go through Miraz's defences to send him back.
But Rilee Rossouw and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim took it on from where the openers left and put up a brilliant stand to take Khulna to a commendable total as Rilee Rossouw picked up his fifty off just 26 balls.
Rossouw was lucky in the last over as he edged Soumya's wide yorker to the keeper but none albeit keeper Mahidul Islam Ankon appealed and the umpire did not respond. Replays suggested that Rossouw had indeed edged it and the batsman punished Cumilla as he took 12 off the last over to take Khulna to 179-2.
Khulna managed to score 58 runs in the last five overs as Rossouw was unbeaten on 71 with Mushfiq staying unbeaten on 24. Soumya and David Wiese picked up a wicket each for Cumilla.