Vol. 5 Num 525 Fri. November 18, 2005  

Beximco corporate kings

Beximco used all their firepower to down Epyllion Group by 50 runs in the final, to clinch the GrameenPhone Corporate Cricket League title yesterday.

Beximco's 276 for nine in 50 overs, in an exciting match watched by a large crowd at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium proved too good for Epyllion, who were all out for 226 despite a skipper's knock by Tushar Imran.

Man-of-the-final Mohammed Shahjada, who wrapped up the show in the first ball of the 45th over, yorked Epyllion's Pakistani recruit Yasir Arafat and bagged five wickets to destroy the last half of the rival innings for just 28 runs.

Chasing an uphill target, Epyllion got off to a fine start when super-sub Sajjadur Rahman (40 off 74 balls) and national opener Shahriar Nafees (33 off 40 balls) put on 68 runs in 12 overs.

However, Beximco's Kenyan batsman Steve Tikolo, having contributed a master 53 off 57 balls, gave the side a breakthrough when he removed Nafees in his second over. Left-handed Nafees, who played some exquisite shots including a hooked six off Mahbubul Alam, dragged a delivery onto his stumps.

Epyllion lost wickets at regular intervals before number four Tushar came together with hard-hitting Arafat, to raise hopes of an improbable victory, even though they were facing an asking run-rate of seven from the last 20 overs.

Tushar, who was particularly harsh on short deliveries, smashed four boundaries and lofted left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak out of the ground for a six over midwicket, just after he was let off the hook by Beximco wicketkeeper Moha-mmed Shahin.

The wasted stumping chance on 54, however, did not prove costly as Tushar was run out for a 56-ball 60. The right-hander swept Tikolo and decided to respond to a call for a single by Arafat, but he was late to beat a throw by Razzak to Tikolo at the non-striking end.

Arafat, who stormed Epyllion into the final with a match-winning knock in the semis, hit a few lusty blows including a huge six that landed over the roof of the gym at the northern side. But his run-a-ball 46 was not enough to inspire the tail that was blown off -- they lost the last four wickets in the space of 12 deliveries -- by Shahjada.

Earlier, Akram Khan elected to bat after winning the toss and the Beximco captain could not have asked for more from his star-studded line-up, after the early loss of Rashedul Haque.

Rajin Saleh (50 off 66 balls), who clubbed seven boundaries, was unfortunate not to complete his half-century as the opener mistimed a pull against paceman Arafat and gave a leading edge to the wicketkeeper.

Runs also flowed from the bats of Al Shahriar (40 off 48 balls) and Tikolo, each hitting five fours. An aggressive Mohammad Ashraful blasted part-time off-spinner Tushar over the midwicket fence for a quickfire 30-ball 32 but the Epyllion captain had his revenge by luring his national teammate to pull a short ball to the safe hands of Nafees at the same region.

Tushar also clean bowled Tikolo in his next over to reduce Beximco to 202-5 but Akram Khan's trusted willow made sure they took the match beyond the opposition's reach, adding 69 runs in the final ten overs. Akram, who showed his disappointment over the decision of his caught behind, made 31 off 29 balls, inclusive of an unusual pulled six off fast bowler Shahadat Hossain.

BORN TO WIN: Beximco captain Akram Khan (L) receives the champions trophy from State Minister for Youth and Sports Fazlur Rahman after the Corporate Cricket League final at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium on Thursday. PHOTO: STAR