MIRPUR, Bangladesh, CMC – West Indies limited overs batsman Lendl Simmons stroked a high class half-century but Trinidadian counterpart Kevon Cooper proved his worth in gold by grabbing four wickets and then smashing the winning runs, as Barisal Bulls beat Rangpur Riders by five wickets to reach today’s final of the Bangladesh Premier League.
Chasing a competitive 161 for victory on Sunday at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Bulls were slumping at 10 for two in the third over before being propelled by a top score of 79 off 49 balls from Sabbir Rahman.
Shahriar Nafees chipped in with 44 from 40 deliveries, posting a crucial 124-run stand for the third wicket with Sabbir.
Three quick wickets, however, left Bulls on 147 for five with eight balls left in the innings and with 14 runs still required for victory.
Trinidadian Rayad Emrit (seven not out) changed the complexion of the game when he belted the fifth delivery of the penultimate over from West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy over mid-wicket for six.
And with eight runs needed from the final over bowled by Thisara Perera, Cooper (10 not out) gathered a boundary to fine leg off the first ball, got a couple off the second before smashing a low full toss into the ropes at mid-wicket to end the game, with three balls remaining.
Cooper had earlier used his deceptive medium pace to grab four for 39 to help restrict Riders to 160 for nine after they chose to bat.
The right-handed Simmons struck nine fours and two sixes in 73 off 57 balls, putting on 52 for the first wicket with Abdullah Al Mamun (20) and 44 for the third wicket with Shakib Al Hasan (13).
He was fourth out in the 17th over but Sammy slammed 23 from 10 balls with three fours and a six, to lend impetus at the death, before becoming Cooper’s fourth wicket when he holed out in the deep.
Bulls will take on Andre Russell’s Comilla Victorians in today’s final