Vol. 5 Num 571 Tue. January 03, 2006  

AKTEL Premier Division Cricket League
DOHS down Abahani too

Three days after their thrilling three-run victory over Mo-hammedan Sporting Club, defending champions Old DOHS pulled off yet another nervy nine-run win against proven giants Abahani Krira Chakra in the Aktel Premier Division Cricket League yesterday.

It was DOHS's third consecutive hard-fought win to secure maximum 16 points, two points ahead of second-placed Victoria Sporting Club who handed a 85-run defeat on Agrani Bank to confirm the Super Six berth along with the holders.

The match at the BKSP was almost a replay of their Friday's thriller at Fatullah, and interestingly DOHS set a demanding 249 for Abahani to win -- one run more than they had thrown at Mohammedan to chase.

Although many felt it was like a mountain to climb for Abahani, especially after their poor run of form with a mediocre set up, the popular Dhanmondi outfit showed the spirit and fight they are famous for and almost chased down the target reaching 239, their highest innings total in the League.

But in a match of lot of similarities with the one of Friday's, Khaled Mahmud stopped the surprise Abahani surge dismissing the last two batsmen in the penultimate over with Abahani needing 14 runs from the final 12 deliveries.

The former national captain also took two wickets in the nail biting last over against Mohammedan after national wicket-keeper Khaled Mashud had tilted the balance, hitting the first ball for a massive six.

On Monday, Anwar Hossain Munir dispatched Mahmud's first delivery for a four. But the 'fighter' gave a fitting reply by uprooting the stumps of Munir and Ishtiaq Siddiqi in the next two deliveries.

Man-of-the-match Mahmud actually took the last three wickets in his last two overs to snatch the victory from Abahani's jaws, who looked well on course after Ahsanullah Hasan and Pakistani Shadab Kabir clobbered 31 runs in three overs including 13 runs in the 46th over off left-arm spinner Manjarul Islam.

In that eventful over, Hasan smashed a huge mid-wicket six while Shadab steered one to the long-leg boundary for four. But Mahmud separated the menacing pair uprooting Hasan's stumps with a well-directed yorker in the next over.

But Abahani's hopes of an intriguing finish was all but over when Pakistani Shadab, on 25, was run out following a mix-up with Ali Arman. Arman refused a second run leaving Shadab stranded out of his crease when a Golam Rahman throw from deep point broke Abahani hearts.

Anwar Hossain Munir for a while reignited his team's hopes but only to be denied by Mahmud.

Earlier, DOHS's commanding 248-7 was built around a fine 79 by Nazimuddin and an aggressive run-a-ball 46 from their Kenyan star Steve Tikolo. Skipper Akram Khan scored 12 against his former club. The holders at one stage were 194-4 in 40 overs but they failed to excel during the slog overs.

For Abahani, opener Jahurul Islam and Imran Ahmed struck half centuries to lay the foundation. Jahurul scored a 61-ball 54 while Imran contributed 65 off 90 deliveries before being run out.

Like elsewhere in the League, the players wore black armbands to show their respect for former Bangladesh coach Eddie Barlow, who died in Wales on Friday.

Rajin Saleh of City Club plays a pull shot on way to a blazing 90 against Indira Road at the Dhanmondi Cricket Stadium on Monday. PHOTO: STAR