Abahani Limited’s veteran right-arm pacer Mashrafe bin Mortaza credited the side’s execution and good homework behind their success in the Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League season 2017-18. The Dhanmondi-based outfit emerged as the champion Thursday, winning their crunch match against Legends of Rupganj by 94 runs at BKSP.
Abahani in the last round of the Super League needed to win the game in order to ensure a smooth ride to the championship. “We had done our homework as to how we could overcome such crunch situation. There is always a mental aspect in such matches so I think our homework worked well, especially with the batting. [Anamul Haque] Bijoy played attacking cricket as one of the batsmen needed to do that. Nasir [Hossain] and [Nazmul Hossain] Shanto added big scores to the total so credit should go to the batsmen (Thursday). The start was important,” said Mashrafe after lifting the championship. Abahani with at least nine current national cricketers in their dressing room were the strongest team on pen and paper this season.
However, despite the heavyweight names and good start to the season, the Sky Blues had to face a tense situation recently. Mashrafe said a team like Abahani deserved to win the tournament this year, and praised the competition in the league this time around. “Abahani were amazing this year, there was no option but to win because even a good team can’t guarantee victory. Even the smallest of teams play good cricket so the bigger teams need to be careful. But good thing is we have been able to win at the end of the day. Every member in the team contributed in the best way possible. Yes, there were matches where we could not do well but that’s part of the game,” Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe explained. “This year the league was very competitive. A team had to bag at least 12 points to move to the Super League. All the teams which went to the Super League were close, we were at the top of the table but the team next to us were only two points away.
So the tournament this year was very interesting, if you review,” he added. Mashrafe’s record 39 wickets in the season was key to Abahani’s bowling attack. The right-arm paceman with 39 scalps in 16 games emerged as the highest Bangladeshi wicket-taker in a List A season. Mashrafe commenting on his performance said, “I have been able to play the way I wanted. The biggest challenge for me was to hold onto the position that I was in and focus on my fitness. I never thought of taking wickets honestly, but focused on doing the processes right, which resulted in me getting so many wickets.”