After almost two-month journey, the final of the Bangladeshi Premier League 2023 is finally here.
Seven teams started this tournament, but now only two remain standing- Sylhet Strikers and Comilla Victorians.
Will Comilla defend their BPL title and bring home their fourth title or will the first-timers Sylhet win the ultimate glory.
Comilla won the toss and asked Sylhet to bat first.
Comilla Victorians: Liton Das, Sunil Narine, Johnson Charles, Imrul Kayes(c), Mosaddek Hossain, Moeen Ali, Jaker Ali(w), Andre Russell, Tanvir Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Mukidul Islam
Sylhet Strikers: Towhid Hridoy, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Zakir Hasan, Ryan Burl, Mushfiqur Rahim(w), Mashrafe Mortaza(c), Thisara Perera, George Linde, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Luke Wood, Rubel Hossain
1st over goes for 17
Najmul Hossain Shanto starts the final on a bright note, hitting two fours in the opening over off Andre Russell.
Russell was fuming at the end of the over not at Shanto, but at his own fielder who cost him four runs in overthrows in the final ball.
Poor start for Comilla.
Tanvir shushes Sylhet
Comilla fight back in the second over, with left-arm spinner Tanvir Islam rattling the off stump of Towhid Hridoy.
Hridoy's excellent tournament ends with a duck.
Mashrafe comes in at no.3
Mashrafe again promoted himself in the batting order for the third consecutive match, this time coming in as the one-down batter.
But he doesn't try to take on Tanvir. Sylhet take just three runs from the second over. The score is 20-1 after two overs.
Mashrafe gone for one
Mashrafe's promotion in the batting order didn't work out as the the skipper lost his wicket to Russel in the final ball of the third over.
Mashrafe tried to hit Russel over the in-field but didn't get the requisite connection and ended up giving an easy catch to his Comilla counterpart Imrul Kayes.
The score is 26-2 after three overs.
Mushfiq joins Shanto
The experienced Mushfqur Rahim joined Shanto in the middle. But even he can't get a hold of Tanvir.
Tanvir started the over with a wide and then conceded a four from a misfield. He conceded just three from the remaining five balls.
After four overs, the score is 34-2.
Narine concedes six in first over
West Indian spinner Sunil Narine joined the attack in the fifth over, conceded just six runs and nearly claimed a wicket.
Shanto, after hitting Narine for a four, tried a sweep shot but top-edged the ball. Mustafizur nearly pulled off a difficult catch but the ball evaded his grasp.
Sylhet reach 42-2 after powerplay
Mustafizur Rahman bowled the final over of the powerplay and conceded just two runs.
Sylhet ended the powerplay on 42-2, mainly thanks to Shanto, who is batting on 32 off 24 balls.
Moeen concedes six runs
Comilla used their fifth bowler of the innings in just seven overs, bringing in off-spinner Moeen Ali.
Moeen keeps things reasonably tight, conceding just six runs. He hit Shanoto on the pads in the final ball and appealed for an LBW, which the umpire turned down.
Comilla choose not to review.
Imrul drops Shanto
Comilla captain drops a difficult catch against Shanto. The left-hander attempted a reverse-sweep and the ball came straight to Imrul at mid-wicket. Imrul got his hands to the ball but couldn't hold on.
Shanto rubbed salt on the wound by hitting a four in the following over.
After eight overs, Sylhet are 59-2.
Shanto closes in on 50
Shanto and Mushfiq rotated the strike well to take eight runs off Narine's second over as Sylhet reached 67-2 after nine overs.
Mushfiq is on 15 off 14 balls while Shanto is six runs away from a well deserved half-century.
Shanto completes 500 runs in BPL9
Shanto thrashed Mustafizur Rahman over point for a boundary and the shot also took his run-tally in the running BPL to 501.
The shot also completed the 50-run stand between Shanto and Mushfiq.
Sylhet reach 79-2 at the halfway point of the innings.
Shanto reaches fifty
Shanto took a single off Moeen to complete his fourth half-century in this year's BPL.
Shanto took 38 balls to reach the milestone and has hit seven fours.
Sylhet are on 89-2 after 11 overs.
Sylhet take 15 off Mukidul
Shanto greeted pacer Mukidul Islam to the crease with a couple of fours and a six as Sylhet finally start their charge for a big total.
Sylhet are 104-2 after 12 overs.
Moeen cleans up Shanto
Shanto's brilliant came to an end at the hands of Moeen. Shanto came down the track but the ball kept a tad lower then he had expected, evaded his bat and struck the stumps.
Shanto his nine fours and a six in his 45-ball innings and shared a 79-run stand with Musfiqur Rahim.
Ryan Burl replaces Shanto in the middle.
After 13 overs, Sylhet are 109-3.
Mukidul bounces back
After leaking 15 runs in his first over, Mukidul bounced back, conceding just six runs in the 14th over.
Sylhet 125-3 after 15 overs
Mushfiq hit his first six of the match with his patented slog sweep against Moeen.
Mushfiq and Burl then rotated the strike four times more to make it a 10-run over.
Mushfiq is batting on 45 off 33 balls while Burl is on a run-a-ball six.
Sylhet are 125-3 with five overs to go.
Mustafiz dismisses Burl after dropping him
Comilla's bad day on the fielding front continued as after conceding three fours from misfieldings and dropping Shanto's catch, they dropped a chance off Burl. This time, the person guilty was Mustafiz.
Mustafiz deceived Burl with a cutter and induced a top-edge. However, the pacer failed to complete the catch. It didn;t cost too much damage however, as in the same over Mustafiz again induced another top-edge from Burl and this time, Mosaddek caught the ball.
Burl departs for 13 off 11 balls. Sylhet are 134-4 after 16 overs.
Mushfiq completes 50
Mushfiq hit a boundary off Narine to complete a well-deserved half-century in the BPL final.
After Shanto's dismissal Mushfiq upped the ante and needs to stay till the end to take Sylhet to a competitive total.
Perera gone for duck
Sylhet's hope for a flurry in the final overs took a huge hit when Narine went through Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera's defences with a faster delivery and bowled him for a golden duck.
South African all-rounder George Linde replaces him.
Sylhet are 144-5 with the 18 balls to go.
Dropped, dropped, caught
George Linde got dropped twice in the first two balls of Mustafiz's 18th over, then hit a four through the square region before finally getting caught by Liton at long-on in the fourth delivery.
Moeen dropped a sitter in the first ball, then Liton missed a difficult chance at mid-on, running in from the ropes. But Linde's brief but entertaining six-ball nine run innings ended eventually.
After 18 overs, Sylhet are 152-6. Mushfiq is joined by young Zakir Hasan.
Sylhet 163-6 after 19 overs
Mushfiq hit a six off Narine to take 11 runs of the 19th over.
Narine finished with figures of 33-1 from his four overs.
Mushfiq is unbeaten on 63 off 41 balls with six balls to go in the innings.
Mushfiq 74, Shanto 64, Sylhet 175-7
Zakir Hasan sacrificed his wicket in a run out to give Mushfiq the strike. His sacrifice didn't go in vain as Mushfiq took a couple of runs and hit a six to take Sylhet's score over 170.
Comilla finished the innings poorly. Russell bowled a no ball in the final ball and had to reload that delivery.
Mushfiq tried to hoick the free hit for a six but was caught by Liton. Then Liton had a brain fade as the opener forgot that it was a free-hit and threw the ball to the ground immediately after taking the catch, allowing Mushfiq to turn a single into a couple.
Mushfiq remained not out and was the stand out batter of the innings, scoring 74 off 48 balls with the help of five fours and three sixes.
Comilla, who dropped four catches and conceded three fours off misfields, will have to chase 176 to retain their title.
The chase begins
Liton Das and Sunil Narine come out to open the innings for Comilla. Rubel takes charge of the new ball for Sylhet
Rubel starts well
Rubel tested Liton and Narine in his opening over where the experienced pacer looked sharp. Liton did hit a four in the over but it came from an outside edge that went through the vacant third slip.
Liton, Narine cut loose
Liton and Narine took 17 runs from Tanzim Hasan's over, to take the score to 26-0 after two overs.
Liton pulled him for a six in the first ball and then hit him through the covers for a four.
Narine then also joined the party, hitting the young pacer for a couple of boundaries.
Rubel dismisses Narine
Rubel broke the dangerous looking partnership by dismissing Narine for 10 off five balls.
The over ended on a good note for Comilla, however, as Liton nudged a ball through third man for a cheeky boundary.
Comilla are 34-1 after three overs.
Imrul departs for two
Skipper Imrul Kayes couldn't deliver on the big night, losing his wicket for two runs off three deliveries.
Imrul tried to hit off-spinner Linde down the ground but he didn't hit the ball well enough to take it over the ropes. Perera took a good running catch to complete the dismissal.
Johnson Charles replaces him in the middle and plays out five dot balls against Linde.
The over is a wicket maiden.
Comilla 42-2 after five overs
Liton looks in sublime touch as he greeted English pacer Luke Wood with a pull that raced to the ropes.
The over cost Sylhet eights runs.
Rubel drops Johnson
The catch dropping bug has apparently also stung Sylhet Strikers as Rubel dropped a fairly straight forward catch at the boundary.
Johnson swept the ball straight to Rubel, who juggled the ball five times before it finally slipped out.
Comilla ends their powerplay on 49-2.
Charles cuts loose
Johnson Charles is already making Sylhet rue his dropped catch. He hit a four and a six off Perera to take 12 runs of the seventh over and take Comilla to 61-2 after seven overs.
Linde keeps it tight
Linde bowled another tight over, conceding just four runs. Linde has so far conceded just 11 runs in his three overs.
After eight overs, Comilla are 65-2.
Tanzim can't catch a break
Tanzim's bad day with the ball continued. He conceded just three singles in the first three balls but ended up conceding 11 runs in the over, courtesy of a boundary from Liton.
Tanzim has already conceded 31 runs from his two overs. Comilla are 76-2 after nine overs.
Interestingly, skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza is yet to bowl.
Comilla 86-2 after 10 overs
Charles hit a four of the last ball of Burl's over to take the score to 86-2 after 10 overs.
Liton and Charles both are looking set at 42 and 29 respectively and Comilla need 90 off 60 balls to retain their title.
Woods concedes seven runs
Liton hit a boundary from the first ball of the over but Luke Woods fought back well in the over, conceding just seven runs.
Comilla are 93-2 after 10 overs.
Liton brings up fifty
Liton took a single off Burl to reach his half-century off just 36 balls. Liton has looked in heavenly touch from the start of the match, hitting seven fours and one six so far.
Comilla are 101 after 12 overs.
Rubel dismisses Liton
Rubel struck for Sylhet exactly when they needed it. Liton tried to hoick Rubel for a six on one knee but couldn't get the requisite connection.
Shanto then took a brilliant running catch to dismiss Liton.
Moeen Ali joins Charles at the middle. After 13 overs, Comilla are 105-3.
Tanzim's woes continues
Tanzim leaked 11 runs in the 14th over, which released the pressure built up by Rubel's over.
As Mashrafe is yet to bowl and from the looks of it, unlikely to bowl at all, Sylhet had to go to Tanzim, who has conceded 31 runs from his first two overs.
The young pacer bowled another expensive over, much to the dismay of his skipper.
Comilla are 116-3 after 14 overs.
Linde bowls out
After a loose over from Tanzim, Linde once again tightened the screws for Sylhet, with a three-run over. Linde finished with 1-13 from his four overs.
After 15 overs, Comilla are 119-3, needing 57 runs off 30 balls.
Comilla need 52 off 24 balls
Pacer Wood conceded just five runs off the 16th over, to bring the required rate over 12.
Charles is looking stuck at the crease, as the West Indian is batting on 39 off 39 balls. Moeen Ali, at the other end, is batting on 14 off 10 balls.
Rubel goes for 23
Charles broke free from his shackles, hitting a couple of sixes and a four and Moeen also hit a six as Rubel's 18th over went for 23 runs.
Charles completed his fifty off 41 deliveries. Comilla now need 29 runs from the last three overs.
Comilla need 21 off two overs
Charles and Moeen took seven runs off Tanzim in the 18th over, to bring the equation to 21 off 12 balls.
Comilla three runs away from title
Charles hit two sixes and a four off Wood to take 18 runs off the penultimate over, leaving just three runs for the final over.
Mashrafe comes in to bowl the final over
Comilla Victorians win fourth BPL title
Charles made up for his slow start in a grand manner, as his unbeaten 79 off 52 balls powered Comilla Victorians to its fourth BPL title.
At one point, Charles was batting on a run-a-ball 39. But then the West Indian found his groove, hitting a couple of sixes each in the 17th and 19th over to change the momentum of the match.
At the other end, Moeen Ali played a supporting role, remaining unbeaten on 25 off 17 balls.
Comilla extend BPL supremacy
2- Comilla Victorians won their second consecutive BPL title. They are the second team to successfully defend their title after Dhaka Gladiators
3- This is Imrul Kayes' third BPL title as captain
4-This is Comilla's fourth BPL title, most by any franchise
11- After losing their first three matches, Comilla won 11 games in a row to lift the BPL title.
Mashrafe suffers first defeat in BPL final
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's unbeaten streak in BPL finals comes to an end. Earlier, Mashrafe had won all four BPL finals he had been part of. But against his old franchise Comilla, Mashrafe's unbeaten run in the finals ended.