Domestic powerhouse Abahani Limited clinched a thrilling eight-run victory against Prime Bank Cricket Club in the most important game of the Bangabandhu Dhaka Premier League (DPL) today, showing an unwavering resolve at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
In doing so, Abahani claimed the hattrick titles of the DPL, that was named as Bangabandhu Dhaka Premier League this year to celebrate the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The league, which was postponed last year due to Covid-19 pandemic was held in T20 format instead of traditional 50-over format as the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) wanted to complete the league as soon as possible and also give the players a chance to hone the T20 skill, considering the upcoming T20 World Cup which will be held later this year.
This was also Abahani’s fourth title in the last five years.
Abahani Limited indeed won the most coveted league of the country for the record 21st time since its inauguration in 1974-75 season.
With both Prime Bank and Abahani Limited accumulating 22 points in the last 15 matches, the game between them in the last round of the DPL turned out to be title deciding one and the Dhanmondi outfit held their nerve in the crucial moment to claim the title.
Opting to bat first, Abahani were restricted to 150-7, a total that looked not to give them a guarantee of securing the title but their bowlers bowled brilliantly to hold Prime Bank back to 142-9.
In the most important game of the league, Abahani Limited received a huge blow when Prime Bank fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman dismissed opener Naim Sheikh in the first ball of the innings.
Another fast bowler Rubel Hossain then got rid of inform opener Munim Shahriar for 3 and Nahidul Islam gave Abahani further setback, taking the wicket of Liton Das who looked in solid in the crease after hitting 19 off 13.
With the side reeling to 31-3, captain Mosaddek Hossain, who was leading the side in absence of injured Mushfiqur Rahim and Nazmul Hossain Shanto came up as rescuer.
They shared a 70-run partnership for the fourth wicket stand to make sure that Abahani would give their bowlers something to defend.
Shanto was the top-scorer for the side with 45 off 40, hitting three fours and two sixes while Mosaddek scored 40 off 39 with one four and one six.
As they were removed in quick succession, Mohammad Saifuddin hit some quick runs towards the end to help the side touch 150-run mark. Saiffuddin was not out on 21 off 13, clobbering two sixes.
Rubel Hossain was the most successful bowler for Prime Bank with 2-22 while Mustafizur Rahman, Nahidul Islam, Shoriful Islam and Rubel Mea picked up one wicket apiece.
Abahani bowlers took the stranglehold of the match, slicing Prime Bank’s top and middle order in no time, leaving them five down for 66 runs.
But while the other threw away their wickets, playing some reckless shots, opener Rubel Mia held one end with utmost confidence .
However he was removed on 41 off 43 in which he struck six boundaries. After his dismissal, Prime Bank got a glimmer of hope through Alok Kapali who struck some big shots towards the end to scare Abahani fans.
Abahani bowlers nonetheless held the nerve and took the side home with Kapali stranding on 34 off 17 after hitting two fours and three sixes.
Saifuddin ended with 4-36 while Mehedi Hasan Rana claimed 2-30. Arafat Sunny and Tanzim Hasan Sakib grabbed one wicket apiece.
Saifuddin was adjudged man of the match for his allround performance.
Abahani collected 24 points from 16 matches to clinch the title while Prime Bank finished runners-up with 22 points from the same matches.
Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club ended as third with 21 points.
The fourth and fifth place will be decided after the match between Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club and Gazi Group Cricketers, who will face-off in the last game of the league tonight. Mohammedan Sporting Club finished sixth with 15 points.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)