Elimination from a high-profile tournament is not something that any sportsperson would want, and Chittagong Vikings captain Mushfiqur Rahim was certainly frustrated after his side's meek surrender to Dhaka Dynamites, who won the Bangladesh Premier League Eliminator by six wickets at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
There was reason, however, for the wicketkeeper-batsman to consider it an agreeable ending not just because he scored substantial runs but also because the season will leave no bitter memories, unlike his past experiences with other franchises -- from the controversy with Barisal Bulls officials to Rajshahi Kings' decision to release him ahead of the ongoing sixth edition of the tournament.
The Vikings roped in Mushfiqur ahead of the players' draft as the icon player and the man from Bogura repaid the favour with interest by leading his side from the front with 426 runs in 13 games with three fifties. Mushfiqur rightly said that he was proud to reach the top four as there was less expectation from his side this season.
“Obviously, it feels bad both for the owners and also personally when your team fails to get a result. In the past two years I have played for Barisal Bulls and Rajshahi Kings and was unable to qualify for the top four, which is not a good feeling and I was not satisfied with my own performance.
“I am not overjoyed by my performance this season. There were a few instances where the result could have gone either way and playing well in those situations will certainly have boosted my confidence for the coming season. Overall, with the team we had, I am proud to have reached this far in the tournament,” he said after the match.
Still, it could have been much sweeter for Mushfiqur had his side not scored a modest 135 for eight in a match which was expected to be a high-voltage affair and the Vikings skipper understandably blamed poor batting behind the one-sided affair.
“It was a do-or-die game for us, all of us expected tough competition and the wicket was also good. If we had scored over 160 runs we could have put pressure on Dhaka, which did not happen. Our top order batsmen made some silly mistakes -- a few got out after getting set and it is always tough if you make so many mistakes against a big team like Dhaka,” he opined.
And it was West Indian Sunil Narine who rose to the occasion for Dhaka with an all-round performance, first bagging four wickets for 15 runs and then providing a flying start with a 16-ball 31 before Upul Tharanga sealed the easy win with a half-century.
After electing to bat, Chittagong were 74 for two inside nine overs but it was Narine who removed Mushfiqur when the right-hander dragged a delivery on to the stumps after scoring eight. The early dismissal of Robbie Frylinck in the death overs, during which they added just 33 runs in five overs, was crucial.
Dhaka's win means that Shakib Al Hasan's side will get one more shot at a place in the final against Comilla Victorians if they beat Rangpur Riders in the second qualifier on Wednesday.