Abahani stay on top with tense win
Nasir Hossain navigated a tricky chase for Abahani Limited as they prevailed in a tense three-wicket win over Mohammedan Sporting Club to remain on top of the points table. The traditional Dhaka derby lived up to some of its old glory as a handful of the two clubs' loyal supporters were present to watch the encounter.
When Abahani needed 44 from the last five overs, the match swung Mohammedan's way when Mashrafe Mortaza conceded just two runs in the 46th over. He mixed his pace with offcutters and that made it difficult to get away with. The moment he removed a slogging Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammedan found a way back it for some time. Abahani needed a further 42 runs off the last four overs after the two-run Mashrafe over, but Nasir stepped up.
In the following over, he hammered Afghanistan legspinner Rahmat Shah for three consecutive sixes - through long-on, midwicket and square leg - to wrest back the momentum in Abahani's favour.
Nasir battled cramps on his calf to complete the chase with two balls left in the final over, in which they needed seven to win. He was unbeaten on 82 off 69 balls with five fours and as many sixes. He came in to bat with Abahani needing a big innings after the 78-run third-wicket stand between Raqibul Hasan and Farhad Hossain was broken in the 28th over. Farhad was dismissed in the 33rd over but Nasir quickly added 49 runs for the fifth wicket with Chamara Silva and another 36 for the seventh wicket with Ziaur Rahman, who was dismissed on the first ball of the final over.
Mashrafe finished with 3 for 42 but Mohammedan's spin quartet produced just two wickets with Shah giving away 61 runs in 8.4 overs for his one wicket, and the other three left-arm spinners being mostly ineffective.
Earlier it was Subashis Roy who rocked the Mohammedan top order with three early wickets as they slipped to 38 for 4 in the ninth over. The pace bowler finished with 4 for 56 while Rahman and Nasir took one each as Mohammedan finished on 240 for 6 in 50 overs.
Their middle-order recovery was led by the 121-run fifth-wicket stand between Naeem Islam and Ariful Haque, who made his maiden List A century. He made 109 off 137 balls with eleven fours and a six, but it was the events that transpired later in the game that took his century out of the picture.
Otherwise it was a proficient innings from Ariful who regularly connected his sweeps and cuts, and later conceded three sixes and a four in Mashrafe's 27-ball 38.
Prime Bank Cricket Club's 84-run win over Legends of Rupganj kept them in the hunt as they remained in second position with 20 points.
Batting first, Prime Bank were aided by three half-centuries to put up 304 for 7 at BKSP-3 ground. Soumya Sarkar top-scored with 81 off 90 balls with five fours and four sixes, setting a solid base. Mahmudullah played the anchor role with his 58-ball 52, while Thilina Kandamby blasted four sixes and five fours in his 49-ball 71. Soumya and Saikat Ali added 82 for the first wicket and later Mahmudullah and Kandamby put together 99 runs for the fourth wicket.
Sharifullah and Ashar Zaidi took two wickets each but Shakib Al Hasan was hammered for 65 runs in his 10 overs, despite bowling two maidens.
Junaid Siddique was removed on the second ball of the chase and Jahurul Islam fell in the seventh over, but Abul Hasan, sent as a pinch-hitter at No. 3, held the innings together with his 72 off 80 balls with six sixes and three fours. But he got scant support from the rest of the batting line-up, as they were bowled out for 220 in 43 overs.
Farhad Reza took three wickets while Soumya and Shuvagata Hom took two each.
While all the attention was in the southern and northern parts on the outskirts of Dhaka, the match at the Shere Bangla National Stadium turned out to be a cakewalk for Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club, as they crushed Kalabagan Cricket Academy by nine wickets.
Chasing 263, Dholeshwar openers Rony Talukdar and Mehedi Maruf struck hundreds and shared a 214-run stand in 36.2 overs. Rony remained not out on a run-a-ball 132 with 14 fours and four sixes, while Mehedi made 106 off 113 balls with seven fours and five sixes.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84