Minister Group Rajshahi won an absolute thriller against Beximco Dhaka by 2 runs in the curtain raiser of the Bangabandhu T20 Cup courtesy all-rounder Mahedi Hasan's sensational performance both with the bat and ball.
Beximco Dhaka needed nine runs to win off the final over. Rajshahi skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto entrusted Mahedi the last over who only gave away six runs, denying Dhaka a win.
Chasing a total of 170, Beximco Dhaka were off to a belligerent start with opener Tanzid Hasan Tamim went all guns blazing right from the word go. The youngster got himself run out before scoring 18 off 11. His opening partner Yasir Ali did not last long too, perishing for only 9.
Naim Sheikh played some fine strokes for his 26 off 17 before Arafat Sunny sent him back to the pavilion. With the southpaw's dismissal, Dhaka were in a spot of bother.
Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim came to the rescue as he put on 71 off 53 for the fourth wicket with Akbar Ali. Farhad Reza broke the vital partnership by picking up Akbar Ali who scored a 29-ball 34.
Mushfiqur Rahim fell soon after, scoring 41 off 34 in the 18th over. Dhaka needed 36 off 17 then.
As Rajshahi tightened their grip in the match, some late blitz from Muktar Ali brought Dhaka well back into the game and they only needed 9 to win off 6 after Muktar hit three sixes and a boundary to get 21 off the penultimate over.
Mahedi, who was the best batsman of his side, delivered the goods with the ball too as he defended eight off the last over despite bowling a no-ball. Dhaka needed 4 off the last ball but Muktar could not squeeze to the off side to pick up a single.
Mahedi was the pick of the bowlers as he took the wicket of Yasir Ali, giving away only 22. Ebadot Hossain, Arafat Sunny and Farhad Reza got one apiece.
Earlier, Rajshahi were put into bat by the Beximco Dhaka captain Mushfiqur Rahim. They were off to a good start but a collapse from the middle order left them reeling at 65 for five. Young opener Anisul Emon was the lone shining light in the top order as he played a stroke-filled knock of 35 off 23. None of Rony Talukdar, Mohammad Ashraful and Fazle Mahmud could register double digit scores. Naim Sheikh took a spectacular catch to dismiss Mohammad Ashraful for 5.
Coming in at seven when his team was under immense pressure, Mahedi Hasan took the attack to the bowlers. Nurul Hasan joined the party too as they put on 89 off 49 balls for the sixth wicket. Hasan scored a quickfire 39 off 20 balls. The first half-century of the tournament deservedly came from the bat of Mahedi. His innings of 50 off 32 was studded with three fours and four maximums. Rajshahi scores 102 off the last ten overs to reach 169 for nine after twenty overs.
Muktar Ali was outstanding with the ball, picking up three scalps for 22 runs only. Mehedi Hasan Rana, Nasum Ahmed and Nayeem Hasan got three wickets each.
Mahedi Hasan, for his magnificent performance, was adjudged player of the match.
Brief score: Minister Group Rajshahi 169/9 (Mahedi 50, Nurul 39, Anisul Emon 35, Muktar 3/22, Mehedi Rana 1/31, Nayeem 1/32)
Beximco Dhaka 167/5 (Mushfiqur 41, Akbar 34, Muktar 27*, Mahedi 1/22, Reza 1/33, Ebadot 1/36)