Vol. 5 Num 490 Tue. October 11, 2005  

Gazi Tank give CCL a kick-start

The domestic cri-cket season got underway with Gazi Tank, Bangladesh Biman and Epyllion Group recording comfortable victories on the opening day of the GrameenPhone Corporate Cricket League at different venues in the city on Monday.

However, as often happens at the very beginning of a new season, the cricketers' body language confirmed they did not get enough time to prepare. And it was written all over their performances that a handful of days' indoor practice is inadequate to be very competitive on the field.

It was shocking to see thick grass on the outfield restricting boundaries as well as batsmen struggling on an under-prepared wicket at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium -- the only venue inside the city to be used during the competition.

In contrast, it was a batting paradise at BKSP where more than 300 runs were produced in an innings.

Buoyed by national stars Manzarul Islam's 82 and Aftab Ahmed's 77, Gazi Tank handed a thumping 125-run defeat on newcomers Bangla Cat at the BKSP.

The two added 87 runs for the third wicket as Gazi Tank amassed 315 for nine in 50 overs after skipper Khaled Mahmud had elected to bat.

One-down Aftab smacked seven fours and four sixes in his 69-ball rampage while left-handed Manzarul cracked nine boundaries inclusive of four sixes in his 75-ball stay as they batted Bangla Cat out of the game.

In reply, Bangla Cat were bundled out for 190 with wicketkeeper-batsman Shamimul Haque scoring match highest 90 not out off 96 deliveries.

Monirul Islam was the pick of the winners' attack with 4-33 from 6.5 overs.

A five-wicket haul by Araf Apparels spinner Kamrul Hasan failed to prevent Epyllion from cruising to a five-wicket victory at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium.

At one stage, it looked like a cakewalk victory for Epyllion, who raced to 71 without loss in 12 overs after restricting their rivals to a paltry 97.

National opener Shahriar Nafees batted with ease in a 40-ball 44 featuring half a dozen boundaries and a six over square-leg. But as soon as the southpaw drove a catch to mid-wicket, all hell broke lose.

Kamrul, who bowled his left-arm spinners with a suspect action, captured all five wickets as the Epyllion batsmen suddenly pushed the panic button before scoring the remaining 27 runs for victory. It took Tushar Imran to guide the side home in the 26th over with a painstaking 10 not out off 42 balls.

Kamrul was included three years ago in a list of bowlers with suspect actions and the umpires thought that he still needed to rectify his action.

Earlier, Araf were put in and failed to make any impact on a hostile green turf. Their attempt to produce a fighting total was dashed when Alok Kapali (16), mistimed a drive against medium-pacer Tarek Aziz and Khaled Mashud (16) was run out by Tushar Imran's brilliant throw from covers.

Mashud, the national wicketkeeper, said afterwards that 150 would have been a winning total on this wicket. But he was disappointed with the team's performance.

At the Fatullah Stadium, Mushfiqur Rahman's all-round show helped Bangladesh Biman beat debutants Metro Real Estate (MRE) by six wickets.

National discard Mushfiq grabbed 4-19 with the new ball as MRE, with no big names on the roster, were all out for 154 in 46.2 overs after opting to bat. Reduced to 23-3, MRE fought back in the middle with Sharifullah (42) and Mohammad Kalim (35) putting on 59 runs. They again lost their way when left-arm spinner Mosharraf Rubel captured three quick wickets.

Undaunted by the loss of his opening partner with the total on one, Nazmus Sadat (61 off 81 balls) guided Biman to 158-4 by the 34th over help form Mosharraf (20) and Mushfiq (33).

Araf Apparel's Khaled Mashud cuts the ball during their Corporate Cricket League match against Epyllion at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium on Monday. PHOTO: STAR