Recent Match Report – Rangpur vs Victorians Qualifier 1 2023/24

Comilla Victorians 186 for 4 (Litton 83, Hridoy 64, Farooqi 2-27) beat Rangpur Riders 185 for 6 (Neesham 97*, Nurul 30, Russell 2-37) by six wickets

Litton Das and Towhid Hridoy launched Comilla Victorians into the BPL final through a six-wicket win against Rangpur Riders in Qualifier 1 in Dhaka. The pair struck attractive fifties as the defending and four-time champions chased down 186 with nine balls to spare. James Neesham‘s T20 career-best of an unbeaten 97 from 49 balls had propelled Rangpur after they were 66 for 4, but their bowling faltered in the defense.

Neesham, Litton and Hridoy’s innings seemed to be a just reward for a 25,000-plus crowd at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, which had witnessed a relatively one-sided Eliminator match earlier in the day.

Hridoy struck 64 off 43 balls with five fours and four sixes, while Litton smacked nine fours and four sixes in an innings of 83 from 57 deliveries. The pair added 143 for the second wicket after Sunil Narine’s first-ball dismissal.

Hridoy and Litton got Comilla’s steep chase going almost immediately, the former hammering Hasan Mahmud for 22 runs in the fifth over. Litton then went after Neesham, hitting him for a four and a six, to end the powerplay. Hridoy hit two more sixes, while Litton also got a six in the next four overs.

Hridoy struck the ball strongly through the leg side, while Litton kept up the pace with three fours off Neesham in the 13th over. The partnership ended in the 15th over when Shakib Al Hasan held on to Hridoy’s swipe down the ground.

But Litton continued to keep the chase on track with more boundaries before falling with 13 runs required to win, which were knocked off in the next four legal deliveries.

Earlier, Rangpur’s innings had changed its course when Neesham walked in to bat in the fifth over. Rangpur had already lost Shakib, Shamim Hossain and Rony Talukdar before Neesham and Mahedi Hasan added 39 for the fourth wicket.

Mahedi fell in the ninth over, before Neesham added another useful 38 with Nicholas Pooran for the fifth wicket. Pooran, who arrived in Dhaka only on Monday morning, made 14 off nine balls, before Neesham was joined by captain Nurul Hasan to stabilise Rangpur’s innings.

That is when Neesham opened up, as he and Nurul added 53, with Neesham climbing into the Comilla bowlers. He struck most of his seven sixes over midwicket, at times shuffling to the off side to fetch the ball and hit the bowlers on the leg side.

Neesham struck three sixes and two fours in the last over of Rangpur’s innings as Comilla’s youngster Musfik Hasan conceded 27 – the other run was from a bye – with the total of 28 being the most in an over in this season’s BPL. Musfik’s four overs cost 72, and turned out to be the most expensive spell in BPL history.

But it didn’t cost Comilla, although Rangpur now have a second shot at the final as they take on Fortune Barishal in Qualifier 2 in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

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