Out-of-favour paceman Mashrafee bin Murtaza returned to competitive cricket with a decent performance with the ball during the Dhaka Premier League title deciding match between Abahani and Mohammedan SC at the Fatullah stadium on Saturday.
Mashrafee, playing for Abahani, claimed a wicket for 55 runs in his 10 overs and also took two catches after Nafees Iqbal took a stunner at deep square leg to end his effort with the bat for only three runs.
Abahani lost to Mohammedan by one wicket, but were still crowned champions as their nearest rivals Gazi Tanks also suffered defeat.
Mashrafee, who injured his knee in what was only the second game of Abahani in the league for which he could not make the World Cup squad, showed a glimpse of his former self in his two spells that cost him 32 and 23 runs respectively.
Playing under the stewardship of veteran Mohammad Rafque, he conceded 4,6,6,3,7 and 6 runs in his six overs of first spell before returning to give away 8,4,4 and 7 runs in the second spell.
In the process the claimed the wicket of Mohammedan’s top scorer Shamsur Rahmam with wicketkeeper Shahgir Hossain taking a sharp catch.
Discarded from the World Cup squad on fitness ground, Mashrafee took a simple catch at the slips offered by Mohammedan’s former Pakistani captain Shoaib Malik before jumping high at mid-wicket to hold the catch of Khaled Mashud.
‘I am happy to play for full 50 overs,’ Mashrafee told reporters after the game. ‘I was determined to play this match and the outcome is more than I expected.’
The paceman admitted he was a bit shaky in his first spell but came close to his best in the second spell.
‘I agree that in the first spell I was a bit shaky and that was usual as I am returning after a long break,’ said Mashrafee.
‘In the second spell I was gaining the momentum. I think I bowled at 127mph-130mph and that is probably the pace I had against the Zimbabweans,’ he said.
‘I don’t think I used all my tricks as I did not try any yorkers or slower deliveries,’ he said.
Mashrafee was, however, not willing to talk much about his chances of playing in the World Cup.
‘I don’t want to talk about it as everyone knows what had happened,’ said Mashrafee.
‘Right now I am only worried about regaining my total fitness,’ he said.