Mashrafe Mortraza and team-mates celebrate a strike
In the end, a well-paced innings changed a slightly longer run chase than against Chittagong, into a straightforward victory over Barisal Burners, for the second time, thus completing the double.
We had some real issues over whom to play due to fever spreading through the camp and a bowling injury to Pollard. It lead to a somewhat imbalanced team and given we only have 16 to choose from this meant a chance for Nazmul and with Imran once more available and the final slot narrowly going to Aftab, we decided to give the latter a chance to pinch hit at the top of the innings.
Once again the bowlers did extremely well to restrict BB to just 156-6 when the par score appeared to be closer to 180 on a far better pitch than the night before. Both Elias Sunny, now the BPL's leading wicket-taker and Rana Naved, who is really coming into some excellent form, kept things restricted for our opponents. As a team, we have got stronger with our bowling as the competition has gone on and the fielding standard has been one of the highest.
The run chase got off to a poor start with Ash playing an injudicious shot to be simply caught at slip and Aftab's experiment as a big hitting number 3 sadly not working out. Therefore, it was left again to Imran Nazir and Azhar Mahmood to steady the ship and freely play some exciting strokes. Azhar's acceleration in particular was very timely and his 42 plus Imran's 65 took us almost to victory.
There was still time for Pollard to play a trademark innings with 37 of just 17 balls and take us to a well-deserved win by five wickets with 10 balls still to spare with Anamul hitting the winning runs by hooking a huge 6.
I am learning a great deal from watching our players perform. I have formulated some strong views on who can perform and within balancing a team, it is sometimes necessary to select a player based on a role they can play rather than trying to find a place in the team for them and then finding them a role. Injuries and illness have meant we have had to be creative with players sometimes being used differently to their natural game or expected position. This is T20 after all, and you have to remain flexible as we do not have the luxury of a balanced bench, or like for like players being available. In addition, of course, captain, selector, owners and players all have differing viewpoints and influences. You have to listen to those who have different points to make.
Our win places 4 sides on 10 points with one game for each of them to play. We sit third on net run rate just a fraction behind Chittagong Kings who lost badly to Sylhet. Our final match is on the last day of the round against Rajshahi who themselves play KRB tomorrow in a match that will see the winners of that match qualify for the semi-finals. Chittagong play Barisal in the other match tomorrow and a win for Chittagong will see the current top four placed teams ALL qualify. However, a win for Barisal puts them into the mix for a chance to make it.
It is clear that net run rate is going to play a significant part in this tournament now. Sides will want to win, or avoid defeat, by big margins.