Abahani regained the most coveted domestic title despite losing the prestige battle against their traditional rivals Mohammedan by just one wicket in the exciting last round match of the Premier Cricket Super League at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium yesterday.
Young paceman Abul Hasan’s brilliant bowling of 6 for 31 and the presence of the inspirational Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was not good enough for Abahani to finish the job in style as Mohammedan chased down the target of 231 with three balls to spare.
The Dhanmondi outfit must thank Bangladesh Biman as the result at the other end of Dhaka in BKSP ensured them 24 points as well as confirming their 17th league title. Biman shattered Gazi Tank’s dream of clinching their maiden title with a 15-run victory. A win could have given Gazi Tank a great success but they were bundled out for 198 runs in reply to Biman’s 213.
Abahani officials and players were busy with the news from BKSP while Mohammedan was dominating the proceedings in the second session and the celebrations started in the middle of the Mohammedan innings when the news came that Gazi Tank lost at BKSP.
On the other hand, defending champions Mohammedan not only avenged their heavy ten-wicket defeat in the first round against their arch-rivals but they also finished runners-up after victory in the nerve-wrecking game as they improved their tally to 23 points, one ahead of Gazi.
Back to the match and it was a perfect ending after the way the battle of the two traditional rivals finished.
“Nothing could have been better if we could have finished the campaign with a win. But cricket is the winner in today’s match. Everybody wants to watch this kind of match when the country’s popular sides are involved,” said Abahani coach Khaled Mahmud.
Requiring nine runs from the last over with one wicket in hand, Enamul Haque cleverly managed one run from the first delivery from Hasan, who suddenly brought back life in the match, leaving Pakistani Azhar Mahmood to score eight runs from the last five balls. Azhar cut the second ball to the fence and hit the third ball over mid-wicket to seal the victory. Azhar’s run-a-ball 34 made sure that the two brilliant knocks from Shamsur Rahman (65) and Faisal Hossain (65) would not go in vain.
Mohammedan made a disastours start when Hasan removed openers Nazimuddin and Shoaib Malik and Nafis Iqbal fell victim of a silly run-out with the scoreboard reading 12 for three.
Captain Khaled Mashud (27) promoted himself in the batting-order to join Shamsur and shared a 66-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Mohammedan were well placed at 156 for five before Hasan’s four wickets.
Earlier Abahani got off a confident start when Anamul Haque (46) and Rony Talukder (38) added 87 runs in the opening stand but their innings lost the way in the middle as the batsmen were struggling against the spinners.
Abahani finally could manage a decent total thanks to Farhad Hossain’s 41-ball 32 and Sahagir Hossain’s unbeaten 24-ball 21.
“The tied match against Prime Dowleshar and the defeat to Old DOHS in the Super League cost us heavily. Actually our performance was not consistent all through the league which is really frustrating,” said Mohammedan skipper Mashud.
In the day’s other vital match, Biman rode on Jahurul Islam’s 86-ball 57 that saw five boundaries to put up 213 for nine in stipulated 50 overs.
In reply, Gazi Tank lost wickets at regular interval before they were bundled out for 198 runs with 13 balls to spare.
Most of the Gazi’s top-order including in-form Nasir Hossain (34) and Alok Kapali (33) got starts but none of them could finish the game.
ABAHANI: 230-8 in 50 overs (Anamul 46, Rony 38, Rajat 45, Forhad 32, Sahagir 21 not out; Tareq 2-43, Enamul 2-33, Malik 2-36).
MOHAMMEDAN: 231-9 in 49.3 overs (Shamsur 65, Mashud 27, Faisal 65, Azhar 34 not out; Abul 6-31).
Result: Mohammedan won by one wicket.
BIMAN: 213-9 in 50 overs (Jahurul 57, Latif 25, Tushar 34, Mosharraf 23; Nasir 3-41, Ali 2-22).
GAZI TANK: 198 all out in 47.5 overs (Mithun 27, Ali 24, Nasir 34, Kapali 33, Amer 32; Sharifullah 2-38, Sanwar 2-20).
Result: Biman won by 15 runs.