Najmul XI batsmen Afif Hossain’s staggering 98 and Mushfiqur Rahim’s 52-run innings propelled their team to tournament highest score of 264/8 against Mahmudullah XI during the BCB President’s Cup match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Saturday.
Afif was just two short of his century before getting run out by Mehedi Miraz. Before getting out, youngster Afif and experienced campaigner Mushfiqur formed a partnership of 147-run for the fourth-wicket stand. This alliance helped their team to rebuild the innings after Nazmul XI lost three wickets in quick succession as after winning the toss, Mahmudullah XI sent Najmul XI to bat first. For Mahmudullah XI, Pacer Rubel Hossain grabbed 3 wickets and Ebadat Hossain bagged 2.
After losing the toss in Mirpur, Najmul XI did not have a good start. Soumya Sarkar (8), skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto (3) and Parvez Hossain Emon (19) returned to the pavilion after adding 31 runs to the scoreboard. Najmul XI were under pressure. Then, Mushfiqur Rahim handled the pressure with Afif Hossain in the fourth wicket partnership.
Afif’s stunning 108-ball 98 comprised of 12 fours and one maximum. He impressed everyone with his array of shots. From playing pull shots against pacers to using his feet swiftly against spinners, Afif played shots all around the ground.
Mushfiqur who scored 103 in the previous game, finally got his form back with his composed innings of 92-ball 52, which comprised of one four only. Mushfiqur picked up his half-century after Afif's departure. However, he could not make the innings bigger. Mushi returned after scoring 52 runs as the team’s total reached 187 runs.
The platform set by Mushfiqur and Afif was well utilized by Towhid Ridoy and Irfan Shukkur who added 70 runs in the end. Ridoy scored 27 before being dismissed by Ebadot but Irfan showed his big hitting prowess at the death overs to keep Najmul XI rolling. Irfan remained unbeaten for a quickfire 31-ball 48, which included four boundaries and two maximums. This helped Najmul XI to set a commendable target for Mahmudullah XI. For Mahmudullah XI, right arm pacer Rubel Hossain was the most impressive bowler with 3 wickets. He dismissed Soumya Sarkar and Najmul Hossain Shanto in quick succession. Both of them got out in a similar manner as both the batsmen dragged outside off deliveries onto their stumps. Rubel later grabbed the wicket of Rishad Hossain at the death.
He finished his spell with figures of 3/53 in his allocated 10 overs, which also involved two maidens.