March 5, 2000

Bangladesh Premier League in full swing

Bangladesh's most popular league, the limited overs competition is now in full swing having finally started on February 23. In the opener, reigning champs, Biman beat newcomers City Club comfortably by 62 runs. Each team will play each other once, before the top six of the twelve participants will battle it out for the title in the super league, while the rest are demoted to play in the relegation league. The following is a summary of some of the early significant matches played so far. A further report will appear in tomorrow's edition.

Biman V City Club (Bangabandhu, February 23, 2000) After electing to bat first, Biman openers Faruk Ahmed (80) and Javed Omar (74) put on a partnership worth 132, which laid the foundation for Biman's mammoth 254/5. City Club's import from Pakistan, Saifullah Magsi still was a thorn in Biman's path, as he claimed 4 wickets for 43 runs. City Club lost their first four wickets for 21 runs, three of them to Pakistani leg spinner, Manzoor Akhtar, before Wahidul Islam (50) and Tofazzal Hossain, led the recovery sharing a 100 run partnership. However, the scoring rate was too slow, and in the end thanks to some tight bowling from Aminul Islam Bhola (1/23 off 10) and Manzoor Akhtar (4/35 off 10), City Club fell miles short of their target.

Abahani V Gopibagh FA (Bangabandhu, February 24, 2000) Naimur Rahman Durjoy was the man in the spotlight throughout this match. He made a dashing 95, supported by Akram Khan's 61, when it was Abahani's turn to bat, as they piled up an almost unreachable target of 274/8 for rookies Gopibagh. The newcomers were dismissed for 117, as Naimur once again performed remarkably, when he claimed 3/24. It was an easy win for the giants Abahani, devised almost solely by Naimur.

Surjo Torun V Wari (Bangabandhu, February 25, 2000) Pakistani speedster, Ata-ur Rahman gave Wari a dream start when he removed both Surjo Torun openers in quick succession. However, a dazzling 74 by national wicket keeper, Khaled Mashud helped Torun put up a respectable score of 247/8. Ataur ended with 4/44, a very impressive performance to restrict the opponents in his debut match. But his four wicket haul, went in vain as Wari made only 197/7 in their fifty. Wari were in trouble early, and never seemed to recover. Opener MR Mukul made the highest, 64. Wari were soon reduced to 147/6, with less than fifteen overs remaining. Then, number eight, Sajib Das hammered 44 off 33 balls, but it was useless since all the deliveries had been wasted earlier and runs scarcely came from the other end. In the end, Wari fell 51 runs short of their objective.

Mohammedans V Victoria (Bangabandhu, February 27, 2000) Former Sri Lankan Test star Hashan Tillekeratne made a remarkable debut for Mohammedans, as he scored 55 runs when they batted first. However, some good bowling from off spinner Sabbir Khan (4/34), restricted the favourites to 224/7 in their allotted overs. Victoria's innings was full of ups and downs. They lost wickets regularly, whenever a batsman seemed to have gotten settled. At one stage they were in deep trouble at 113/5, but then Pakistani batsman Rashed Hanif whacked 60 off 63, to get Victoria to the brink of victory. Tillekaratne finished the match off with an amazing bowling performance, 3/30 which helped Mohammedans snatch an exciting seven runvictory.

Kalabagan V Agrani Bank (Bangabandhu, February 28, 2000) Kalabagan's Pakistani recruit Zahoor Elahi earned the distinction of hammering the first century off the league, as Kalabagan beat Agrani Bank comprehensively by nine wickets. A four wicket haul by Pakistani Rouf Wain helped Kalabagan bowl out the bankers for just 144. Chasing this modest total, Elahi scored more than the fair share of runs, as he blew away the Agrani attack, on his way to an unbeaten 100, off 69 balls, which included eleven fours and four sixes.

Abahani V Wari Club (Bangabandhu, February 29, 2000) Abahani Limited posted a six wicket victory over Wari Club, after they Pakistani left armer Mohammad Hossain blew away Wari for 83. Hossain seemed unplayable for Wari, as he claimed four wickets for two runs off five overs. After a few minor setbacks, Abahani reached their victory target, with 28 over to spare and losing four wickets in the process.

Biman V Gopibagh (BKSP, February 28, 2000) Biman recorded their second consecutive victory, as they crushed rookies Gopibagh in style. Gopibagh made 155 runs for seven wickets in their fifty overs, owing to some restrictive bowling from Shariful Haq (3/20 off 10) and Pakistani Manzoor Akhtar (2/34 off 10). In Biman's innings, skipper Faruk (50) and Javed Omar (70*) put on another good opening stand. After Faruk's dismissal, Habibul Bashar contributed 32 runs, as Biman reached their target comfortably within just 39 overs.