Mohammad Nabi made his BPL debut special by taking 4 wickets    Getty Images
Mohammad Nabi made his BPL debut special by taking 4 wickets Getty Images

Stunning performances from Mohammad Nabi and Tamim Iqbal helped Chittagong Vikings win the series opener of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2016. The team was up against the reigning champions Comilla Victorians whom they outwitted with a powerful start with the bat and then a very good bowling. Both the teams have talented batsmen by their side while it was Tamim Iqbal’s 54-run knock which helped the Vikings put up a good total while a combined attack from the bowlers helped them end things soon for their opponents’ batsmen. Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2016: Points Table and Team Standings

Comilla Victorians won the toss and elected to field first. Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza opened the bowling himself while Chittagong Vikings’ captain Tmaim Iqbal came out to open the innings with Dwayne Smith. Tamim’s confident and big shots from the very beginning made it clear that the team was looking for aggressive cricket. Tamim played a quickfire knock of a 31-ball 50 but departerd soon after for a bizarre dismissal. Vikings had earlier lost their other opener Smith for a mistimed shot off an Imad Wasim delivery.

Tamim’s dismissal was a result of a confusion with his partner Anamul Haque. Soon after, Anamul also departed, leaving two new batsmen Shoaib Malik and Jahurul Islam at the crease. Though they started off slowly, pacing down the innings, they later started hitting big and ended the innings with 161 runs on the board. Imad was the only successful bowler for the Victorians. It was the two run-outs which paced down the innings which was looking steady to put up more runs that were on the board.

In reply, Victorians batsmen had a tumbling start to the innings losing wickets one after another. Unlike their opponents, the Victorians started things off slowly, keeping the shots grounded. They soon lost their first wicket as Dwayne Smith removed Imrul Kayes for 6. The Bangladesh national team regular went for a wrong shot selection, edging the ball to opponents’ wicketkeeper Anamul Haque who took a comfortable catch. It was Smith’s 100th wicket in Twenty20 format.

Marlon Samuels and Litton Das looked to settle things down post the wicket but failed to build up any partnership. Abdur Razzak trapped Samuels, who was hitting back to back sixes, at leg-stump. The batsman top-edged it to Taskin Ahmed at mid-wicket and departed for 23 following a successful catch.

Litton Das was the next to depart. Das did not look comfortable batting and though hit a couple of boundaries in the Tymal Mills over before, one of them was a lucky shot. He had edged the ball before but this time it landed in Anamul’s gloves. Mohammad Nabi got the first wicket of his first BPL season while he got his second soon after that. Nabi kept the ball low as it turned in, confusing Azhar Zaidi totally and getting him bowled. Zaidi, who was the player of the tournament for the previous season, departed for 2.

Some interesting bowling action came from Tymal Mills who mixed extreme variations in his bowling, delivering some big bouncers along with slower ones and yorkers. He confused opponent skipper Mortaza with the way he bowled and got him bowled for 1. The Victorians kept on losing wickets in regular intervals. It was only young Nazmul Hossain Shanto who stayed at the crease for long.

He made his T20 debut with the match and made it special with a half-century. The player impressed everyone with his performance in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup earlier and maintained the form in this format as well.

Star of the match was Mohammad Nabi, who bagged 4 wickets for the winning side on his BPL debut.

While the Victorians’ bowlers could not do well with the bat after restricting the opponents for an achievable target, it was the Vikings’ all-round performance won them the match.

Brief scores:

Chittagong Vikings 161 for 3 (Tamim Iqbal 54, Shoaib Malik 40*; Imad Wasim 1 for 22) win vs Comilla Victorians 132 for 8 ( Marlon Samuels 23, Nazmul Hossain Shanto 54* ; Mohammad Nabi 4 for 24) by 29 runs.

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)