May 5, 2001

Abahani fans are looking towards Hussain and Malik

Arch rivals Abahani K.C. and Mohammedan Sporting met on the rain-drenched BNS ground today in the decisive Premier League match where the winner will instantly become champion.

Earlier, due to a heavy but brief shower, the match was reduced to 33 overs a side. Mohammedan won the toss and their decision to bat did not surprise anyone because the pitch was damp and the spinners were going to benefit.

Abahani set off sluggishly, mostly due to Azam Iqbal who took 60 balls over his painful 30 - slow-going in a rain-shortened game. They received a blow when run-machine Md. Hussain (21) tried to lift the ball to Rashedul only to offer a catch.

New batsman Nafis Iqbal looked quite troubled by the off-breaks of Maurice Odumbe and soon fall prey to him by giving a nick to Mortaza at 15. After the fall of Asadullah Khan (19), it was evident that the spinners would dominate.

Shoaib Malik did well to guide his side to a fighting total. His efforts included a straight six but Sanwar got him for 26 when he tried to flick him to point where he was comfortably caught.

Abahani were dismissed for 160, a total which Mohammedan Sporting seemed content to chase as they all looked satisfied at the end of the innings.

The spinners' performance was spectacular though the pitch got the credit. Odumbe took 2 for 17 off five overs and Sanwar 4 for 28 in six.