There were centuries galore in the third round of the Dhaka Premier League yesterday as five hundreds were struck in three games. But unfortunately for Kalabagan Krira Chakra, their twin tons from disgraced former national captain Mohammad Ashraful (104) and Taibur Rahman (114) went in vain following a terrific unbeaten 143 by Prime Doleshwar's Liton Das.
Defending Champions Gazi Group captain Jahurul Islam also saw his 102 go in vain as Khelaghar SKS posted a comprehensive five-wicket win, their first after two defeats.
Title contenders Abahani however thrived on a fine 108 from Saif Hasan to post a massive 136-run win against Brothers Union. The victory gave Abahani the solo lead in the 12-team table of the country's List A competition with three wins in as many games. It was Brother's first defeat after two wins and they now share second spot with Prime Doleshwar and Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, who have however played one match less.
Off the three games, Prime Doleshwar's spectacular run chase at the BKSP in Savar was the most entertaining.
Kalabagan, thriving on Ashraful and Taibur tons, posted a commanding 290 for four in 50 overs. Ashraful's first big knock following his return to the domestic front last year after serving a five-year fixing ban gave Kalabagan hopes of ending the losing streak. The right-hander struck 11 boundaries in his 131-ball knock. He also shared 188 runs for the fourth wicket with Taibur, whose 109-ball 114 contained nine fours and three sixes. Muktar Ali provided the late thrust with a 16-ball 40 that contained three massive sixes and a couple of fours.
But Liton's power-packed 143 off 123 balls and his unbroken third-wicket stand of 170 with Marshall Ayub, who scored a robust 73-ball 91, enabled Prime Doleshwar to reach the victory target of 291 for the loss of only two wickets and with five overs to spare.
A prolific scorer in the domestic front and just returned from Test duty, Liton hammered 14 fours and three sixes.
In the other game at the country's lone sports institute, Khaleghar thumped a five-wicket defeat on holders Gazi Group.
Sent in bat, Gazi posted a fighting 247 for five with Indian recruit Rajat Bhatia scoring an unbeaten 61 apart from their captain's century. Mominul Haque, Bangladesh's first batsman to score centuries in both innings of a Test, also chipped in with a 47-ball 46. However, one-day and Test opener Imrul Kayes scored a disappointing 14.
Jahurul's 142-ball 102 contained five fours and a six. But after the departure of Mominul at 94 for two, their middle order failed to carry on the momentum.
Khelaghar reached 249 for five with nine balls to spare with player-of-the-match Mohidul Islam scoring 85 off 109 balls. He shared a match-winning 103 runs for the fourth wicket with Ashok Menaria, who hammered a 50-ball 51 to fashion a spectacular victory for a youthful team.
At the Khan Saheb Osman Ali Stadium in Fatullah, Bangladesh Under-19 captain Saif Hasan hit a superb 108 off 132 balls as Abahani, sent into bat, posted a challenging 266 all out in 50 overs. Saif hit six fours and five sixes in his polished knock. He shared 84 runs for the opening stand with Anamul Haque, who chipped in with 41. The young right-hander also put on 93 runs for the second wicket with Nazmul Hasan (38) before being dismissed in the 40th over, leaving the scoreboard at 203 for three. But Abahani failed to exploit the last 10 overs, scoring just 64 runs and losing seven wickets.
However, the total proved more than defendable as Brothers were crushed for 130 in 35.4 overs by the two-pronged spin attack of Sunzamul Islam and Mehedi Hasan Miraz. Left-arm spinner Sunzamul, who removed both Brothers openers Mizamu Rahman (24) and Junaid Siddiqui (24), finished with three for 28 in his 10 overs. Right-arm off-spinner Mehedi mopped up the tail to finish with three for 24 in his six overs.