Vol. 5 Num 215 Fri. December 31, 2004  

Green Delta Dhaka Premier League 2004-05
Biman inflict mighty blow on MSC

Last year's runners-up Moha-mmedan Spor-ting Club were virtually thrown out of the title race when Bang-ladesh Biman handed them a 19-run defeat in a crucial Premier Division Cricket League match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.

Meanwhile, Old DOHS joined holders Victoria at the top of the points table when the newcomers outplayed Agrani Bank. This was their fifth win in seven outings.

In the day's other fixture, City Club also picked up their fifth victory when they thrashed Orient Sporting Club by eight wickets.

Bangladesh star Mohammad Ashraful's sparkling 86 and a fantastic all-round display by Mosharraf Hossain guided Biman to victory in a low-scoring game.

Makeshift opener Mosharraf scored the second highest 29 and then turned in a match-winning performance with his left-arm spin to grab five wickets for 29 as Mohammedan's much vaunted batting line collapsed to 165 in 48.3 overs.

Sent into bat, Biman openers Mosharraf and Rashedul Haque (17) put on 29 before the country's premier fast bowler Mashrafee bin-Mortuza removed Rashedul. One down Ashraful started nervously and gave a chance on one but Bangladesh Under-19 wicketkeeper Dhiman Ghosh floored the catch off the with Ashraful single-handedly shouldering Biman's batting responsibilities as seven batsmen failed to reach the double figures. The 20-year-old hammered seven fours and three sixes before being the eighth man out.

Mashrafee, unplayable throughout, took three more wickets and ace spinner Mohammed Rafique captured 3-25 as Biman, who were comfortably placed at 138-2 at one stage, lost seven wickets in the space of 44 runs including three on the same score of 184.

Mohammedan were cruising with openers Nafees Iqbal (20) and Shahriar Hossain (28) getting 45 runs in 11 overs. But first-change bowler Neaz Morshed came in and changed the complexion of the match. He dismissed both openers and conceded only 16 runs in his 10 overs.

Then Mosharraf got into the act and sent back rival skipper Habibul Bashar (5) and fittingly enough, it was Ashraful who caught the Bangladesh captain at slip. Kenyan ace Steve Tikolo then fell lbw to Mosharraf on 13. Despite a fighting 30 from number six Arafat Sunny, Mohammedan's tail just did not have the character as they lost the last four wickets for 20 runs.

Al-Shahriar scored his season's best 74 while Pakistani Zahoor Elahi crossed 50 for the sixth time in seven games as DOHS posted a formidable 273-4 in 50 overs after being sent in by Agrani Bank at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium.

Elahi's 57-ball 75 not out was laced with six fours and one six after opener Mohammed Shahin (62 off 95 balls) and number three Al Shahriar had set the tone.

The man-of-the-match award however, went to Al Shahriar who struck five fours and three sixes in 105 balls.

Promotees Agrani, who had won four matches at the start of the league, stood no chance while chasing once the fiery Shahadat Hossain Rajib, the country's fastest bowler, tore apart the top order with a three-wicket burst. Left-arm spinners Enamul Haque Moni (2-48) and his namesake Enamul Haque (Jr) wrapped up the Agrani innings.

Bangladesh Under-19 batsman Shahriar Nafees Ahmed missed a thoroughly deserved ton just by one run but his unbeaten effort for City Club enabled the Mirpur team race past Orient's 203-6 with eight overs to spare at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium.

The left-hander, who came to bat at number four with City on 35-2, shared 169 runs for the unbroken third wicket with a rejuvenated Rajin Saleh, who made 66 from 106 balls with the help of five fours.

Man-of-the-match Nafees cracked a dozen boundaries and one six off 103 deliveries.

For Orient, opener Tamim Iqbal, younger brother of Bangladesh batsman Nefees Iqbal, topscored with 72 (138 balls).

Biman wicketkeeper Sajjad Kadir takes off the bails of Mohammedan's Mashrafee-Bin-Mortuza during their Green Delta Premier Division Cricket League clash at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday. PHOTO: STAR