February 10, 2000

Bangladesh Red-Green clash ends in exciting draw

This was the first three day match of the games, organized by the Bangladesh Cricket Board to help improve the standard of cricket of the Bangladesh team in the longer versions of the game. The teams comprised of Bangladesh's best 22 cricketers, and according to the BCB selectors would pick the national squad based on their performances in these matches. The two teams selected, BCB Red XI and Green XI, were led by Aminul Islam and Naimur Rahman (as a replacement for Akram Khan), respectively.

Naimur won the toss for Green XI and elected to bat first. After a threatening opening stand by Azam Iqbal and Parvez Ahmed for 56, left armer Mohammad Rafiq finally provided the first breakthrough as he trapped Azam lbw. Soon, Green XI were reduced to 88/4, after that, top scorer Naimur (44) put on a valuable 61 run partnership with Asadullah Khan, but they both departed complements of Rafiq with the score on 149. Then, Mizan Babu (27) and Ashraful (37*) put on another half century stand to help Green XI crawl to 214/7 at the end of the day's play.

Bangladesh Greens added 15 runs to their overnight score losing two wickets, before they declared at 229/9. Mohammad Rafiq finished with brilliant figures of 5/66 from 34 overs. Anisur Rahman took 2/24 while Sohail and Zahir took one wicket each. In Bangladesh Red's innings, most of the batsmen made a good start, but they all threw their wicket away in their twenties. Sajid (21), Parvez (23), Saleh (21), Aminul (23), Sanwar (31) and Mushfiq (21), all seemed to be get settled for a big score, but they played rash strokes to leave Red XI in a devastating position.

It was once again Rafiq who came to the rescue as he rediscovered his form as a hard hitting allrounder. After Rafiq was dismissed for a quickfire 44 and the score on 201/7, Aminul Islam made a sporting declaration to keep match alive despite a deficit of 28 runs. For Bangladesh Green, Ahmed Kamal grabbed 3/34, while Durjoy and Ashraful took 2 wickets each. With an hour's play left, Bangladesh Green batted for 17 overs, as they reached 41 for the0 loss of two wickets. The Greens, in their second innings lost both openers cheaply to Sahail Ahmed. Then, Sajjad and Hasanuzzaman batted sensibly to take the score to 41 at stumps.

On the last day, Red XI added 41 runs to their overnight score before a dramatic collapse began. Mohammad Rafiq, knocked out the middle order taking the wickets of the three batsmen that looked most threatening, Sajjad Ahmed (33), Hasanuzzaman (29) and Naimur Rahman (33). Mizan Babu and Ashraful's 38 run partnership was the last in their innings worth mentioning, before part time spinner Sanwar Hossain was given the ball. Sanwar, mesmorized the tail as he grabbed the last four wickets giving away 19 runs off his 4.4 overs. Rafique ended with 3/40 while Sohail (2/28) and Mushiq (1/32) were the other wicket takers.

Green XI were now chasing a target of 211 for victory off 42 overs. They lost Parvez first ball to a return catch by Ahmed Kamal. Then Sajid (77) and Rajin Saleh (81) put on 141 runs, before off spinner Shabbir finally broke the stand when he had Rajin caught by Hasanuzzaman. Sajid was soon bowled by Naimur, and after his departure, the Greens were left with 58 runs to chase off just 8 overs.

Attempting to accelerate the scoring, both Aminul Islam (10 off 10) and Rafiq (14 off 9) were run out. Sanwar and Mushfiq tried desperately to chase this total with very few overs remaining but they fell short by just 10 runs. The Greens were restricted to 201 for five in the 42 overs bowled at the close of this three day match, which though exciting, ended in yet another draw.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board meanwhile has cancelled the four-dayer set to start on February 11 for unknown reasons, the schedule for the rest of the matches has not been decided yet.