WEST Indian batsman Johnson Charles produced a magnificent 107 not out to lead the Comilla Victorians to a seven-wicket win over the Khulna Tigers in the Bangladesh Premier League at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
The Tigers took first strike after the Victorians won the toss and elected to field first, a decision that looked like the right one when Mahmudul Hasan Joy was dismissed by Pakistani pacer Naseem Shah in the third over with the score on 13.
That wicket brought Tigers skipper Shai Hope to the crease alongside Tamim Iqbal and the pair put on a T20 batting masterclass, blasting the Comilla bowling all over the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.
A 184-run second wicket partnership between them helped the Tigers reach 197 after 19 overs before Iqbal was finally dismissed five runs short of a magnificent hundred. Iqbal hit 11 fours and four sixes in 61 deliveries.
In the end, Khulna ended their 20 overs on 210-2 with Hope ending not out on 91. His knock came off just 55 balls and included five fours and seven sixes.
The Victorians reply got off to the worst possible start when top batsman Litton Das was forced to retire hurt after being struck on the wrist with the second ball of the innings.
This brought Captain Imrul Kayes to the wicket and he and Mohammad Rizwan put on 22 before Kayes was dismissed for five in the third over.
Rizwan was then joined at the crease by Charles and the two put on a display like that of Hope and Iqbal in the Tigers’ innings.
The pair put on what turned into a match-winning 122-run partnership before Rizwan was dismissed for a 39-ball 73 in the 14th over.
Charles continued on his merry way and brought up a magnificent hundred with a six over cover in the 18th over. His knock came off 53 balls and included five fours and 10 sixes.He closed proceedings with a six in the 19th over to help the Victorians complete the highest chase in BPL history.
The Victorians now have 12 points from nine games and have secured their spot in the playoffs with a game to spare. (Sportsmax)