The Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League 2016-17 season has ended in a climax as three teams - Gazi Group Cricketers, Abahani Limited and Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club – finishing their campaign on an identical 24 points. But it was Gazi who emerged champion thanks to a better head-to-head record than the other two.
Overall, this premier league season will be known as an extremely competitive one as there was some stiff competition between bat and ball, ending in a fitting finale as three teams were in title contention right until the last day of the tournament,.
Although the tournament lost some glamour due to the unavailability of the national team players from the fifth round onwards, there were some fascinating encounters. Gazi held their nerve in the end of the Super Six stage and despite losing their last match, they were declared champion.
The Super Six phase was much more competitive than the group stage. In the group stage, Gazi were unbeaten for nine matches in a row and at that time, the title was inches away from them even though the Super Six stage was yet to begin.
However, Gazi suffered a late slump in the tournament and secured only three wins out of their remaining seven matches. But those wins were enough for them to clinch the title, thanks to their charismatic captain Nasir Hossain, who scored 480 runs in eight innings with a stunning average of 240. Their left arm pacer Abu Haider Rony was also in blistering form throughout the tournament, eventually becoming the highest wicket-taker with 35 wickets in 16 innings.
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Gazi captain Nasir Hossain led the way for his side with 480 runs this season with a staggering average of 240 DHAKA TRIBUNE
Defending champion Abahani started their campaign with three straight wins but lost the plot when they suffered back-to-back defeats against Gazi and Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, which dented their surge. Abahani also lost a key battle in the Super Six stage against Gazi and it turned out to be the title decider. Wicketkeeper-batsman Liton Kumar Das scored bagful of runs at the top-order, totalling 752 in 14 innings, but Abahani's bowling department was not up to the mark. Foreign recruit Manan Sharma took 27 wickets but the local bowlers failed to rise to the occasion.
Doleshwar were the surprise package this season as they played consistently good cricket throughout the tournament, almost upsetting the tables in favour of them. They started with two wins and as many losses in their first four encounters but later won 10 out of 12 matches. However, they eventually fell short of the elusive title. Experienced campaigners like Marshall Ayub (661), Imtiaz Hossain (641) and Shahriar Nafees (600) made important contributions for the team while left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny was brilliant with the ball, claiming 34 wickets in 15 innings.
The rest of the three teams in the Super Six stage - Prime Bank Cricket Club, Mohammedan Sporting Club Limited and Sheikh Jamal – were never in the title chase and failed to produce the goods in the later part of the tournament. Sheikh Jamal pulled off the highest chase (340) this season against Mohammedan at BKSP to leapfrog Legends of Rupganj but the Dhanmondi outfit failed to make the best use of their opportunity later onwards.
In contrast, Mohammedan’s season can perhaps be highlighted by their stand-in captain Raqibul Hasan, who smashed 190 while chasing arch-rival Abahani’s 338. Mohammedan probably missing their star signings Tamim Iqbal and Mehedi Hasan Miraz, who are currently in England for national team duty.
In the first round, Kalabagan Krira Chakra pulled off a great escape by winning three consecutive matches in their last three games. Khelaghar Samaj Kalyan Samity also remained in the league with three wins while Victoria Sporting Club and Partex Sporting Club were relegated to the First Division.