After losing three matches in a row, Beximco Dhaka have made a strong comeback winning back-to-back games in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup 2020.
Their latest, 25-run, victory came against Minister Group Rajshahi at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Friday.
In a surprising move, Dhaka sent offspinner Nayeem Hasan to open the innings with Mohammad Naim. But it did not work as Nayeem fell for one in the first over of the game.
Despite the early damage, Dhaka posted a challenging 175 runs riding on Yasir Ali (67), Akbar Ali (45), and Mushfiqur Rahim (37).
Three of the first four Dhaka batsmen failed to reach two-digit scores as Nayeem, Naim and Tanzid Hasan fell for 1, 9, and 2. Two of them fell prey to right-arm pacer Mukidul Islam who ended up taking two wickets for 38 runs in three overs.
Dhaka lost four wickets to reach 100 runs. However, Yasir and Akbar added 100 runs in the fifth wicket stand and helped their team post a challenging total, which eventually proved to be a tough one for Rajshahi.
In reply, Rajshahi were all out for 150 runs in 20 overs despite a well-fought partnership of 67 runs by Rony Talukdar and Fazle Mahmud Rabbi. They paired up as Rajshahi lost three wickets for 15 runs and parted ways after at 82.
Rony fell for 40 while Mahmud recorded his first fifty of this competition – 58 off 40 with five fours and three sixes.
Next, Mahmud went to clear Muktar Ali for a boundary through the onside, only to sky an easy catch to Tanzid.
Muktar Ali scalped four wickets conceding 37 runs in four overs while Shafiqul Alam bagged three conceding 31 runs in four overs.
With this win, Dhaka moved one place up in the points table surpassing Fortune Barishal.
They now have four points from two wins in five games while Rajshahi lost three matches in a row, and they are now at number four in the points table with four points from the same number of games.
Due to a higher run rate, Dhaka topped Rajshahi, who also have four points from two wins in five matches.
Zakir Hasan hit a fifty to help Gemcon Khulna beat Fortune Barishal by 48 runs on Friday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Playing for the first time in Bangabandhu T20 Cup, the left-handed top-order batsman did enough to prove his mettle.
However, Shakib Al Hasan continued his poor run in the competition. The allrounder, who has returned to competitive games after serving a one-year ban, posted 14 runs and took a wicket in the game.
Barishal won the toss and got an early success, removing Jahurul Islam for two. Taskin Ahmed bagged the wicket in the third over of the game.
However, Zakir and Imrul Kayes added 90 runs in the second wicket stand.
Imrul fell prey to Kamrul Islam Rabbi for 37 off 34 with two fours and one six, but Zakir was firm on the other end of the wicket. He ended up on 63 off 42 balls with 10 fours.
But, Shakib (14) and Mahmudullah (24) failed to thrive on the solid start. And Khulna ended up on 173 for six in 20 overs.
Rabbi took three wickets conceding 33 runs in four overs while Taskin bagged two wickets for 44 runs in four overs.
In reply, Barishal managed to post 125 runs in 19.5 overs and lost the game by 48 runs.
Tamim Iqbal (32), Towhid Hridoy (33) were the only batsmen to have passed the 30-run mark for them. Parvez Hossain Emon (19) and Irfan Sukkur (16) also managed a decent start but failed to capitalize.
For Khulna, right-arm spinner Shuvagata Hom took two wickets for 18 runs in three overs. He conceded 13 runs in the first over but made a good comeback in the next two.
Shahidul Islam and Hasan Mahmud also bagged two wickets each.
It was the third win for Khulna in five games. However, Barishal managed to be on the winning side just once while playing the same number of games.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has sought speedy and complete recovery of BFF President Kazi Mohammad Salahuddin, who tested positive for Covid-19 on November 25.
In a letter on Wednesday, Gianni addressed to Salahuddin as dear friend and said he had learned about the BFB chief diagnosed with Covid-19.
"From Zurich, I would like extend to you, on be half of the international football community and on my personal behalf, my best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery, with the hope to see you in full healthy very soon.
"Health is a top priority and I am accompanying you from distance to give you the strength to get through the period," the FIFA boss said.
A few days after testing positive for coronavirus, BFF President Salahuddin has been in self-isolation and remains in quarantine.
In a statement on Thursday, Salahuddin said he was feeling well, but still had some light symptoms.
“I've gone through so many messages, phone calls and letters over the last few days and I would like to genuinely thank everyone for their support, which is truly heart-warming. Thank you from the bottom of my heart," he added.
The Joint Qualification Group E match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 and Asian Cup 2023 between Asian champions Qatar and touring Bangladesh will be held on Friday in Doha.
The match will kick-off at 7pm Qatar time and 10pm Bangladesh time at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium in Qatar.
Only 20 percent spectators of the total capacity can enjoy the match at the stadium following health guidelines. The match ticket, costing 20 Riyal each went to sale from Wednesday.
Sports channel T-Sports and Bangla TV will telecast the match live for the Bangladeshi fans.
Bangladesh National Football Team had their last practice session on Thursday at the regular practice venue-- AL Aziziyah Boutique (Super Club) in Doha.
Earlier, Bangladesh conceded 0-2 goals defeat against the Asian champions Qatar in their Group E home match in Dhaka on October 10 last year.
Bangladesh team reached Qatar on November 19, two weeks ahead of the match for the Covid-19 and as well as to adjust with the local conditions. They started their gym and practice session on Nov 22 after a three-day quarantine in Doha.
Touring Bangladesh also played two preparatory matches in Qatar against local teams and lost both the matches.
Bangladesh team suffered a 2-3 goals defeat against Qatar Army team in the first practice match on November 25 and conceded 0-1 goal defeat against Qatar Division-2 team Lusail Sporting Club on Nov 28 in the other match at the Pitch-1 & 2 of the Aziziyah Boutique (Super Club) in Doha.
Meanwhile, the British Head Coach of Bangladesh national football team Jamie Day, who failed to accompany the Qatar-bound Bangladesh National Football team on November 19 due to Covid-19, finally reached Doha on Nov 2 to inspire the national team after recovering from Coronavirus after the 5th test.
The BFF is trying to minimise the mandatory quarantine period for him so that he can stay with the team in Friday's tough match.
Bangladesh players gave samples for Covid-19 sample on Wednesday for Friday's match. All results came out negative.
Jamal Bhuiya, the captain of the team, said they are eyeing at least a draw.
Under the proper guidence of Jamie Day, Bangladesh football team smartly returned to the international football after about ten months (during Covid-19) with a creditable 2-0 goals victory over upper ranked Nepal in the first match of the two-match Mujib Borsho FIFA International Series in Dhaka on November 13.
But his absence in the second match due to Covid-19, Bangladesh played to a goalless draw against Nepal on November 17 and clinched the two-match series 1-0.
With the feat, the FIFA world ranking of Bangladesh team moved three steps ahead in the latest ranking to place 184th from 187th.
Earlier, Bangladesh started their campaign in FIFA and AFC joint qualifiers last year with a 0-1 defeat against Afghanistan in the first match in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe on September 10, conceded a 0-2 goals defeat against Asian champions Qatar in the second match in Dhaka on October 10, played to a 1-1 draw against India in their third match in Kolkata on October 15 and conceded 1-4 goals defeat against Oman in the fourth match at the Seeb Sports Stadium in Al Seeb city of Oman on November 14.
In the five-team Group E, Qatar is now leading the point table with 13 points from five matches while Bangladesh are at the bottom place with one point from four matches. Among others, Oman secured 12, Afghanistan 4 and India 3 points.
Bangladesh team: Ashraful Islam Rana, Anisur Rahman Zico, Pappu Hossain, Topu Barman, Bishwanath Ghosh, Yeasin Khan, Rahmat Miya, Sushanto Tripura, Riyadul Hasan, Rayhan Hasan, Jamal Bhuiyan, Atiqur Rahman Fahad, Mamunul Islam Mamun, Sohel Rana, Rabiul Hasan, Biplo Ahamed, Mohammad Ibrahim, Saaduddin, Nabib Newaj Jibon, Towhidul Alam Sabuj, Rakib Hossain, Manik Hossain Mollah, Yeasir Arafat, Monjurur Rahman, Sumon Rez, Mahbubur Rahman Sufil and MS Bablu.
Gemcon Khulna expressed their interest to rope in Mashrafe Bin Mortaza for the remaining part of the ongoing Bangabandhu T20 Cup 2020, Nafis Iqbal, the manager of Khulna said Thursday.
Mashrafe, the former captain of Bangladesh, played his last competitive game in March this year. He, like many other cricketers, was out of action since the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Mashrafe was also absent when many cricketers joined the individual training programme and took part in the President’s Cup 50-over competition.
Citing concern over fitness, Mashrafe had opted to stay out of the players draft for Bangabandhu T20 Cup as well. But he has started training recently.
“We saw Mashrafe started training. So, we've shown our interest to rope him in. I think Mashrafe is the kind of player who is expected by every team. But everything depends on his personal call, and at the same time, we've to take the decision of the board as well,” Nafis told the media.
It’s still not clear whether any other team of Bangabandhu T20 Cup showed interest for the same. As per the by-laws of this event, any team can rope in any player who is not listed in the players draft.
“Since Mashrafe wasn’t listed in the draft, any team can take him in their squad. Every team has the same right. But it depends on Mashrafe’s call and the combination of the teams. We just showed our interest. Now the thing is on Masrhafe and the board,” Nafis added.
On paper, Khulna is the strongest team in the competition as they have allrounders like Mahmudullah Riyad and Shakib Al Hasan.
Khulna have played four games in the event so far and won two of them. Both Mahmudullah and Shakib are yet to come up with the performance expected to them. In the next game of the event, Khulna will take on Fortune Barishal on December 4.