Prime Bank strengthen title chances
Prime Bank Cricket Club put themselves in a strong position to win their maiden Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League title with a 20-run win over Mohammedan Sporting Club in the competition's penultimate round of Super League matches. They are now on 24 points, two points ahead of Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club while Abahani remain on 20 points.
This means that in the last round on Sunday, a win over Abahani will make Prime Bank champions. But if they lose and Prime Doleshwar beat Mohammedan Sporting Club, the title will be decided over net run-rate. The head-to-head record, the first criteria for deciding between teams with equal points, is equal for Prime Bank and Prime Doleshwar who beat each other once in the first phase and Super League.
Farhad struck 76 off 56 balls with eight fours and four sixes after Prime Bank slipped to 144 for 7 in the 38th over. He added 46 for the eighth wicket with Taijul Islam and 40 for the ninth wicket with Taskin Ahmed to help the side score a below-par 230, a score that had seemed improbable after Mashrafe's four-wicket haul.
Mohammedan's chase was stuttering at 91 for 6 in the 22nd over when Mashrafe joined Ariful Haque at the crease. The pair added 110 for the seventh wicket with Mashrafe making 62 off 76 balls with five fours and four sixes.
Prime Bank were back in the game after that wicket and it was Farhad's double-wicket over, which included the wicket of Ariful who made 60 off 70 balls, that gave Prime Bank the crucial win. Mohammedan lost their last four wickets for just nine runs in the space of 18 balls.
There was more drama at the Shere Bangla National Stadium where Kalabagan Cricket Academy ended Abahani's title hopes with a one-wicket victory.
Nasir Hossain's first century of the season got Abahani close to a big score in the slog overs, but they ended up on a modest 247 for 9 in 50 overs. They were comfortably placed at 202 for 3 in the 43rd over but lost their last six wickets for 42 runs. The collapse was Sabbir Rahman's doing, as he bowled legspin after more than a year and finished with 6 for 43 from 10 overs, his best List-A bowling performance.
Abahani were never out of the game, and took wickets at regular intervals as KCA struggled to put a partnership together. Abahani could have thought of two points when they took the sixth wicket in the 38th over with the score at 156, but Mahmudul Hasan and Irfan Sukkur batted valiantly in fading light.
The pair used the sweep shot and the inside-out over cover to get boundaries as they added 64 for the seventh wicket and swung the game KCA's way. Abahani fielded laboriously throughout the stand, giving away needless singles and doubles.
With 28 runs to win, Mahmudul fell trying to sweep Mosaddek Hossain, caught at short fine-leg after making 82 off 107 balls with seven boundaries. Irfan, however, held firm as he farmed the strike with the tail-enders. He struck his only six of the innings when KCA needed 13 off nine balls, and though Mehrab Hossain was run-out attempting a second off the next ball, the six had deflated Abahani.
At the start of the last over, Irfan struck Mosaddek over cover once again, and after playing out three more dot balls, slammed him straight for the winning run.
The Abahani supporters were irate and some of their anger was directed towards the decision to give Mosaddek, who had bowled just five overs this season, the vital last over.
The story was completely different in Fatullah where Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club crushed Legends of Rupganj by eight wickets.
Batting first, Rupganj made 221 for 9 in 50 overs with Abul Hasan's 51 the top score of the innings. Delwar Hossain, Asif Ahmed and Elias Sunny took two wickets each.
But the match belonged to Mehedi Maruf who struck his second century of the league. He made 118 off 119 deliveries with 14 fours and three sixes. He first shared a 61-run opening stand with Rony Talukdar, before adding 135 runs for the second wicket with Mominul Haque, who made his first fifty in the Dhaka Premier League.
The two points kept Prime Doleshwar in the hunt but they now need to win their next game handsomely and hope Prime Bank lose their match in Mirpur.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84