Tamim leads Abahani to title
Abahani Limited became champions of the Dhaka Premier League after they beat last season’s champions Prime Bank Cricket Club by 115 runs at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Wednesday.
Abahani skipper Tamim Iqbal played a blazing innings of 142 runs to help his side post 316-7 before Saqlain Sajib’s seven-for, the only instance of the league, bundled out the opponents for 201 runs.
The local powerhouse, who was later awarded one point from their halted match against Prime Doleswhar, regained their domestic supremacy after four years though it was marred by many controversies.
The win took Abahani’s points tally to 22 points from 15 games adding the point from the abandoned match Abahani went two points clear of Doleshwar, who finished as runners-up with 21 points.
Tamim was at his terrific best as the stylish left-handed batsman dominated the bowlers since the beginning and struck 11 fours and four sixes in his 132-ball innings to propel his side to a big score.
Tamim lost his opening partner Liton Das for a duck in the third ball of the innings after winning the toss but resurrected the innings with two partnerships of 50 and 47 respectively with Nazmul Hossain Shanto (17) and Dinesh Kartik (25).
But the biggest partnership of the match came in the fourth wicket when Tamim added 173 runs with Mosaddek Hossain, who made 78 runs, in the fourth wicket stand.
The innings also made Tamim the second highest scorer of the league with 714 runs, just five short of Roqibul Hassan of Doleshwar.
Tamim was extremely content with the innings.
‘I think it was an outstanding innings,’ said the Abahani skipper. ‘Batting was not easy on that wicket and we lost quick wickets in the beginning. I took time initially and it was a very well-planned innings.
‘Mosaddek’s innings was also good as he lessened the pressure off me. It was a nice team effort.
‘The match was important for us, we knew we would be champions if we could win,’ added the dashing left-hander.
Prime’s Indian recruit Unmukt Chand grabbed three wickets while Rubel Hossain and Nazmul Islam bagged two wickets each.
In reply, Prime made a convincing start as their openers Mehedi Maruf (69) and Chand made 72 runs in just 12 overs before the Indian was picked up by Abahani pacer Taskin Ahmed.
The national team pacer later picked up Prime’s icon player Sabbir Rahman but the rest of the innings was the story of Saqlain.
The 27-year old left-arm spinner was twice on a hat-trick in the match, though he was eventually denied the feat.
Saqlain, who conceded 11 runs in his first over including a big six over long on, eventually finished with 7-58 from 9.2 his, first five or more wickets in limited overs, which mesmerised the outgoing champions.
He could even better his record had Prime’s last batsman Nazmul was not absent hurt.
The performance however made Saqlain the third highest wicket taker of the league with 26 scalps, four less than Chaturanga de Silva, who tops the list with 30 wickets.