Rangpur Riders 192 for 3 (Charles 105*, McCullum 78) beat Comilla Victorians 155 (Liton 39, Rubel 3-34) by 36 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball updates
Rangpur Riders made it to their first BPL final after completing a 36-run win over group-stage leaders Comilla Victorians in the match that spanned two days. Johnson Charles struck his maiden T20 century while Brendon McCullum made his first big contribution in the tournament to overpower a strong Comilla attack.
It will be the fourth time in the final for Mashrafe Mortaza, who led Dhaka Gladiators and Comilla to BPL titles in 2012, 2013 and 2015. He finished the game off with a superb running catch off the last ball, underlining his contribution as more than just that of team captain.
On Monday, Rangpur added 137 runs in their remaining 13 overs, after their overnight score of 55 for 1. Charles, who had already struck four sixes on Monday, hit seven in total apart from the nine boundaries in his unbeaten 63-ball 105. McCullum was far more aggressive, hammering nine sixes and just a single four in his 46-ball 78. The duo added 151 runs - a BPL record for the second wicket, the highest partnership for the season and the third-highest partnership in BPL history.
Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das started well for Comilla but Rangpur applied the brakes in the second half of their innings. They were eventually bowled out for 156, losing regular wickets in the middle overs.
McCullum finally comes to the party
Having averaged just 15.20 this season before the match, it was only a matter of time before McCullum found his groove in the BPL. It began in the 10th over when he blew Graeme Cremer straight down the ground for his first six.
Charles gave Mohammad Saifuddin the same treatment in the 13th over, hammering him over long off and square-leg. Cremer bowled four decent deliveries in the 14th over before McCullum launched him square on the leg-side and over cover for consecutive sixes to tear the Zimbabwe captain apart.
McCullum came into his own in the next five overs, hitting six more sixes. First, Al-Amin Hossain was smeared flat over extra cover. Hasan Ali, Comilla's best bowler in the day, was slogged over long-on before McCullum unloaded three sixes off Al-Amin once again in the 17th over. He didn't hit it well on two of those occasions, but still managed to clear the ropes comfortably. After adding one more maximum in the 19th over, McCullum perished off the final ball for 78.
A first for Charles
Charles rode out the anticipation for his first T20 ton with three boundaries in the final over. The second, a guide past point, got him to the three-figure mark. The last one was a blast past the umpire and non-striker, as Comilla breathed a huge sigh of relief that the onslaught was at least over. His highest T20 score before this was 92, and he bettered that by 13 more as he finished unbeaten.
Tamim, Liton help Comilla fly off
Liton Das' six over midwicket in the first over signaled Comilla's intent about chasing the 193-run target. Tamim then smacked Rubel for a six in the third over in which Tamim and Liton survived two run-out attempts in the same delivery. The result: four overthrows, as Rangpur looked a little too excited in the field during the Powerplay overs. Despite losing Tamim, Imrul Kayes and Shoaib Malik, Comilla remained on course till the half-way mark; with ten overs to go, they needed a further 110 runs.
Rangpur slows Comilla down
The ball after Malik's dismissal, Liton struck Nazmul Islam for a straight six but the left-arm spinner conceded just four runs in his next over to put the pressure right back on Comilla. It yielded a wicket in the next over when Liton fell caught behind for 39.
Rangpur stopped the boundary hitting from overs 10.2 to 14.4, before Buttler struck his first six, a massive hit over long on. He added a second in the next over, off Mashrafe, struck straight this time. But Marlon Samuels remained frustrated at the other end with umpire Raveendra Wimalasiri who failed to spot two wides in the 17th over. It was a crucial over as Isuru Udana conceded only four runs, leaving a mountain to climb for Comilla at the death.
Bopara's knockout punch
It got harder for Comilla in the 18th over as Buttler and Samuels fell to Ravi Bopara. Buttler gave a catch to deep midwicket before Samuels, who struck a six off the fifth ball, fell in the last ball of the over - caught at short fine-leg for a sluggish 27 off 30 balls. Udana gave away just eight runs in the penultimate over, which included Saifuddin's wicket following which Rubel removed Hasan, Mahedi Hasan and Al-Amin in the last over to bowl Comilla out for 156.