Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Surjo Tarun in Super League

Star-studded Surjo Tarun Club confirmed their berth in the Super League of the Dhaka Premier Cricket League with a crucial two-wicket win over Victoria Sporting Club at the BKSP on Tuesday.
They joined Mohammedan, Abahani, Bangladesh Biman and BKSP in the elite group while Old DOHS, City Club and Victoria are vying for the last remaining slots with a game in hand.
On Tuesday, BKSP defeated DOHS by eight wickets while City Club lost to Young Pegasus by five wickets. Partex lost to Kalabagan by one-wicket in another match despite Rofiqul Islam scoring a century.
Surjo Tarun v Victoria
Farhad Hossain scored 92 off 139 balls to guide Victoria to 213 before they were all out in 49.5 overs, but it was not enough as Surjo Tarun rode on Naeem Islam�s unbeaten 86 to reach the target with five balls to play. It was their sixth win in 10 matches, which means they are well assured of Super League status.
High-flying BKSP restricted DOHS to a paltry total of 127 before romping past the total in 23.2 overs with Ashraful Aziz remaining unbeaten on 66. Mushfiqur Rahim, who rediscovered his batting form, was unbeaten on 33. The Premier League newcomers have now 15 points from 10 matches, which also kept them well-placed in the title race.
City Club v Young Pegasus
City Club had a very good chance to boost their Super League hopes, but they squandered it by losing to bottom side Pegasus by five wickets. Nazmul Islam took four wickets for Pegasus to restrict City to 215 before an unbeaten 51 by Habibur Rahman guided them only to their second league game. Twenty20 runners-up City with nine points must now win their final game and hope the others to collapse should they want to play the Super League.
Partex v Kalabagan
Rofiqul scored 105 while last match centurion Rashed Hanif contributed 63 to help Partex to reach 256-8, but still they ended up as losers. After the intervention of rain, Kalabagan got a revised target of 188 runs in 30 overs. Pakistani Shahbaz Butt (69) and Nazmus Sadat shared a 82-run opening stand to set the tone for Kalabagan, who reached 189-9 in 29.3 overs.

Abahani beat Mohammedan

Abahani survived a late scare to manage a two-wicket victory against archrivals Mohammedan in a low-scoring match at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium yesterday to bounce back in the Premier Cricket League title race.

In an otherwise dull affair between the two traditional rivals, nervous moments suddenly crept in the dying stage when Abahani lost four wickets in the space of 34 runs after a crucial 60-run fifth wicket stand between Shahriar Nafees and Nadif Chowdhury took the side to 125-4.

Nafees struck a well-composed 57 with four boundaries in 111 balls and man-of-the-match Nadif chipped in with 41 off 88 deliveries as defending champions Abahani posted 164 for eight in 46.4 overs in reply to Mohammedan's 162 all out to open the door for second-placed Biman to finish the first-leg atop.

Biman are on 17 points with a match in hand while Mohammedan and Abahani have 18 and 17 points respectively after completion of all their 11 matches.

Only a few supporters turned up to watch the game under scorching heat and it was a painful experience for everybody to see poor cricket all around despite the fact that as many as seven current national cricketers were part of it including captain Mohammad Ashraful.

Ashraful's men were lucky enough that days of repercussion after bad performances are gone in this time.

Everybody was surprised how it was possible for a team (Mohammedan) to score 162 when they have four top-order batsmen of the national team in their ranks. There was, however, no need to think more about the reasons behind when their prized batsman Ashraful played an unnecessary slog-sweep against left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny to be bowled in a crucial situation.

The most disappointed man after the match was none other than Mohammedan coach Minhajul Abedin, one of the finest batsmen the country has ever produced, who is also highly praised for his true professional attitude during a prolific career.

"The reality is that they (national players) have hardly any commitment. You have to be hungry for runs and you have to play for yourself first. A national player should show his class in domestic circuit but unfortunately, none could do it. It's funny that out of four, not a single batsman scored a fifty," said Minhajul.

"And it seems that they have appeared at the ground for the roll-call. If one national player can't make more than five fifties in ten matches, then how we would differentiate him from an average cricketer?" questioned the frustrated former national skipper.

Another ex-Bangladesh captain turned coach Aminul Islam, in charge of defending champions Abahani for the second year, was not so harsh but he was also critical of the approaches of the national stars.

"It was really frustrating the way our national players played in this match and I have doubt about their seriousness," said Aminul.

He praised Nafees for a brilliant innings that turned the match in their favour but was not fully satisfied about the left-hander's efforts.

"I must say Nafees played sensibly to win the match for us but the question is why he and Nadif failed to finish the job. It could have been a different story after they threw away their wickets in the last moment," he added.

According to Mahbubul Anam, former cricket board general secretary and an influential Mohammedan official, 'lack of knowledge' is the reason behind the gloomy feature.

"Whatever it is, commitment or any other thing, all comes from the head," said the bearded organiser after the match.

Ashraful as usually was not ready to accept the blame about lack of commitment. "I think we lacked patience and I am the best example of that," he said in defence of his colleagues.

MOHAMMEDAN: 162 all out in 49.5 overs (Imtiaz 6, Zunaed 5, Anwar 6, Aftab 10, Ashraful 20, Rokibul 14, Aqeel 10, Shuvo 27, Razzak 21, Dollar 25, Tapash 8*, extras 10, Zia 1-29, Talha 1-26, Rafique 1-34, Rezaul 1-22, Sunny 3-29).
ABAHANI: 164 for eight in 46.4 overs (Sahagir 5, Mahbubul 24, Nafees 57, Nazimuddin 1, Tushar 2, Nadif 41, Rezaul 5, Rafique 11, Sunny 7*, Zia 5*, extras 6, Razzak 3-30, Tapash 2-21, Aqeel 1-27, Shuvo 1-32).
Result: Abahani win by two wickets.

Bangladesh U-15s face Dutch in opener

Bangladesh take on Holland in their opening knockout match of the Clico International Under-15 Cricket World Championships in Barbados on April 19.

The young Tigers, currently touring West Bengal, would face hosts West Indies at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad on April 26 in their first match of the tournament proper.

Apart from the hosts, Kenya and Ireland are the other teams in Bangladesh's group.

Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Holland and the International Cricket Council (ICC) Americas team comprising players from Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands and The Bahamas in Group 2.

Test-playing countries England, New Zealand and Australia will be missing from the tournament.

"England have told us that the period of the tournament clashes with their school exams, while Australia and New Zealand have both indicated to us that they don't play competitively at the under-15 level," said All Sports Director Bruce Aanensen during a press conference at the Queen's Park Oval.

The final of the tournament will be played at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad on May

Monday, 31 March 2008

BCB makes peace offering to Heera

Former national captain Shafiqul Haque Heera has been reunited with the Bangladesh Cricket Board in the capacity of national team manager, ending a year-long bitter relationship.
The BCB on Monday appointed him the manager operations of the national cricket team for one year effective from the upcoming tour of Pakistan, where Bangladesh will play five one-day matches and a Twenty20 international from April 8 to 20.
The former wicketkeeper was shown the door by the BCB last April after serving seven years as the deputy director of development and the venue director of the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. He was one of the representatives of the BCB at the host submission meetings of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.
He was widely tipped for a return to the BCB as permanent manager of the national team prior to the home series against South Africa, but some officials blocked it mysteriously, souring his relationship with the cricket oversight body further.
Heera was interviewed for one post of permanent manager on January 13, but the BCB cancelled it on the pretext of having insufficient number of candidates. Only two candidates appeared for the post paving the way for the BCB to take the decision.
They instead appointed former national cricketer Omar Khaled Rumi as the manager for the South Africa and Ireland series. The former leg-spinner left the BCB red-faced by making an incoherent speech during the official dinner of the South Africa series that also made his future uncertain.
Heera was called back into the BCB on Monday for a renegotiation and after an hour-long meeting with Gazi Ashraf Hossain, the chairman cricket operations committee, his appointment was announced.
His one-year term also includes a tri-nation in Dhaka and the Asia Cup in June, Australia tour in September, home series against New Zealand in October, South Africa tour in November and the home series against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and West Indies up to April next year.
Its a new challenge for me. I will try to support the young team as well as the team management to the best of my ability, said Heera, who captained Bangladesh in the 1979 and 1982 ICC Trophy.
As the team operations manager my focus will be on overseeing that the practice sessions are well-organised and the players feel comfortable while traveling at home and away,said Heera.
This will be his sixth stint as the national manager as he held the post in different tournaments, home and away series since 1988. The last time he served as the national team manager was during the Zimbabwe and Kenya tour in 2006.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Now it's a team rule!

Ireland cricket team stayed away from any practice yesterday despite going into the second game of the three-match series on the back of a huge eight-wicket defeat at the Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium today.

The visitors already expressed their concern over the immense heat after their first match defeat at the same venue and as a result, avoided training in the morning to regain some energy.

Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful also admitted that the sultry weather was a big issue behind Ireland's meek surrender in the opening match and they have to brave the heat first if they want to be competitive in the remaining games.

"I must say that they were very disciplined in all departments in the first match but the weather was terrible for them. But on their day they can be dangerous so there is no scope to be complacent only after one comfortable victory," observed Ashraful.

The Tigers presence in the practice at the Mirpur indoors yesterday also reflected the feeling of their skipper. Coach Jamie Siddons conducted a short training with his batsmen only even though his top-order showed some character in the first game.

Was this seriousness for next month's tour to Pakistan? "No. Our main focus is to win the series first. We are not thinking of Pakistan right now but the win against Ireland will definitely help us get back some confidence before another tough tour," responded Ashraful.

Bangladesh came up with a new term in their book, which is 'team rule'. And what they believe was that they failed to apply it during the last series against formidable South Africa but made use of it in the first game against Ireland on Tuesday.

"As per the team rule, only the first three batsmen can play shots freely, in other words, they can play over the top. But for the remaining batsmen, it is considered a crime, as they have to avoid any kind of risk.

"I followed it in the first game against Ireland and got the result. I believe we would be competitive against the top-ranked sides if we maintained this rule," Ashraful explained.

And that was the reason left-handed opener Tamim Iqbal and number three Aftab Ahmed were not blamed for their rushed shots in the first game.

"You can say we gave Tamim free license to play his natural game because of the rule," he said.

Chief selector Rafiqul Alam was also excited by the new method and he believed they will get some results if the players followed it religiously.

"The method (team's rule) was desperately needed against South Africa but it didn't happen. I am happy they at least followed it in the first game against Ireland. As much as we follow the rules, we will be more successful in the international cricket," said the former national player.

"I will be really happy if they maintain it in the remaining two games against Ireland," he added.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

First ODI Win For Siddons

Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons expressed satisfaction not just because the players gave him the first taste of victory in charge, but in the manner they defeated Ireland by eight wickets in the first one-day match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Tuesday.
To me it is more important how we win. In the past I think we had been an entertaining side and it was more about entertaining the crowd than winning matches. I am sure if we win the match that will also entertain the crowd, Siddons said.
It was much more pleasing for me how we went about it. Winning and competing in the game is really important to me. If we won that game and not stuck to the team rules I would have been really upset, added the Australian.
I am trying to say for a week that South Africa is number one and we are the number nine. The difference is that we are now playing against number 10 side. So, everybody expected us to beat them on our home ground and I am happy that we did it.
The 43-year-old Australian however reminded that the job was not finished and there were still two matches to go in the series. On their day they can be a very dangerous side, so next time they will come as a better outfit and we should raise our game also, he said.
Siddons was particularly happy to see his captain and vice-captain performing in the same game, which could inspire the other players as well.
I think Ashraful had been working really very hard in the nets. Today he stuck to the team rules and the result and reward are out there. I think every time he does that he will have success, said Siddons.
Mashrafee bin Murtaza, who took 3-22 to win his seventh man-of-the-match award, the highest by any Bangladeshi cricketer (Mohammad Ashraful and Shahriar Nafees each won it six times), was equally praised by the coach.
We left him out for a few games, batted him at number 11 and tried to make him realise that he has to be a lot more disciplined, said Siddons.
Once again he was not bowling to the South African batsmen, he was bowling to the level of cricketers he is probably better than or as good as, Siddons added on the pace bowler.
Mashrafees 3-22 was his best 10-over bowling spell in terms of economy rate. His pervious best 10-over spell was against Kenya when he conceded 25 runs at Nairobi in 2006.
He bowled in the right areas, swung the ball. He opened the bowling, bowled in the middle of the innings and at the end of the innings, which he has not been able to do properly in the past. He is getting better, said Siddons.

Tigers Smash Irish Team

Opener Shahriar Nafees and skipper Mohammad Ashraful struck unbeaten half-centuries as Bangladesh crushed Ireland by eight wickets to end their 14-match losing streak in one-day cricket at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium on Tuesday.
After restricting Ireland to a modest 185-7, Bangladesh raced to 186-2 to go one up in the three-match series and in the process avenge their 74-run defeat in the last World Cup.
It was Bangladeshs first win since they defeated the Proteas in the Super Eights of the World Cup. Since then, they played three more games in the World Cup, two against India and three each against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa and lost all of them.
Shahriar was just 10 runs short of his fifth one-day century when he smashed the winning boundary off off-spinner Alex Cusack through mid-wicket with more than 10 overs to spare.
Shahriar, who did not score a half-century in his last 12 one-day matches since he made an unbeaten 104 against
Bermuda in February 2007, clubbed 11 boundaries for his 121-ball 90.
He shared an unbeaten 130-run partnership with Mohammad Ashraful, the eighth highest for Bangladesh in 170 one-day matches,
for the third wicket in 30.3 overs after the hosts lost the wickets of Tamim Iqbal and Aftab Ahmed.
Ashraful looked more circumspect on his way to 64 not out off 90 balls as he took 13 balls to get off the mark. The under-performing skipper cracked eight boundaries but never went for any airy-fairy shots that often brought about his downfall.
Ashraful came to the crease after fit-again Aftab Ahmed miscued a slower delivery to leave the hosts reeling at 56-2.
The Tigers lost Tamim (13), who lofted a catch at gully to William Porterfield after a promising start. The opening partnership fetched Bangladesh 25 runs in 5.4 overs.
Having won the toss Ireland got off to a sluggish start after man-of-the-match Mashrafee bin Murtaza maintained a probing line and length.
There were only two scoring shots in his opening spell that read 6-4-8-2.
Then the spinners reduced the Irish to 116-6 in 35 overs before a 64-run partner-
ship between Cusack and Johnston gave them some respectability.
Mashrafee dismissed Cusack (38) in the final over to take his third wicket. He could have added another had Tamim not missed a catch offered by the next batsman Langford-Smith two balls later.