The 2015 Bangladesh Premier League T20 cricket season came to a dramatic conclusion Tuesday in a thrilling championship final, as the Comilla Victorians pulled off a three-wicket victory over the Barisal Bulls with a single on the final ball by Alok Kapali — who was picked by Comilla Captain Mashrafe Mortaza despite being overlooked in the BPL pre-season player draft — off of Mohammad Sami to send the crowd into a frenzy and the dugout, as well as a smattering of fans, pouring onto the field.
To watch a full replay of the Comilla Victorians vs. Barisal Bulls Bangladesh Premier League 2015 Final, played Tuesday evening at Sher-e-Bangla National, view the video at the bottom of this article.
— NAFISA KAMAL ⚡ (@nafiisakamal) December 15, 2015
With just eight deliveries remaining to chase down Barisal’s total of 156, Comilla required 21 to grab the victory. But the 31-year-old Kapali completed his unbeaten 39 with four boundaries before stroking the match-winner, winning not only the BPL 2015 championship, but also a well-deserved Man of The Final award.
“I think the last time I felt this happy was when I made the century against India after we had lost four wickets and now this innings, which we really needed since we had done so well throughout the competition,” the BPL Final hero said.” I think we really needed this win in the final.”
The match-winning stand offered a measure of redemption for Kapali, who was one of several Bangladesh cricketers banned after defecting in 2009 to the outlaw Indian Cricket League. Even though Kapali was eventually taken back into the fold, he has not been selected for the national team since 2011.
“I won’t call this a comeback,” Kapali said after Tuesday’s victory. “The current Bangladesh team is doing well and I think that I used to play for that team in the past. I am trying on my own. Actually the ICL is now in the distant past. It is better we don’t talk about it.”
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For Mashrafe, the stunning victory was his third BPL championship as captain. The Bangladesh ODI and T20 skipper also led the former Dhaka Dynamites to titles in the first two BPL tournaments, giving the skipper a lock on the Bangladesh Premier League trophy.
— Comilla Victorians (@ComillaVictoria) December 15, 2015
Even more remarkable, the Comilla Victorians were a first-year franchise after the BPL took a year off due to a match-fixing scandal that marred the 2013 campaign. Mashrafe, battling hamstring injury all season, calmly guided the debutante side to the top of the BPL group stage table before defeating Rangpur Riders in the first playoff qualifier to jump straight to the final — which he and the Victorians have now won.
The Premier League trophy puts an exclamation point on a triumphant year for 32-year-old Mashrafe and for Bangladesh cricket. As national One Day International side skipper, Mashrafe led the Tigers to an astonishing five straight ODI series wins, including extraordinary upsets of South Africa, and subcontinent arch-rivals India and Pakistan — a streak that followed the first-ever appearance by Bangladesh in the knockout stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup in March.
“I think I was really lucky in all three BPLs. I am very lucky to be champion in all three. This time I will give the entire credit to coach [Mohammad] Salauddin at first. He worked on the roles of each and every player so I am grateful to him and the entire team,” Mashrafe said.
“It has been a very good year for me. I tried my best to play the role and will try to continue the good work. I just want this to continue. I do not want anything more than this,” he added.
Watch a full replay of the BPL Final in the video above, or go to ESPN3 at this link to relive the Bangladesh Premier League 2015 championship match in its entirety.
[Featured Photo via Bangladesh Cricket Board]