Afif misses out on ton but Najmul XI score tournament-high 264 for eight

An authoritative knock from young Afif Hossain combined with a rather cautious knock from Mushfiqur Rahim and Irfan Shukkur’s late cameo saw Najmul XI post a commendable 264 for eight — so far the highest total of the tournament — against Mahmudullah XI in the fourth match of the BCB President’s Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today. 

Afif could have been the second centurion of the tournament — after Mushfiqur who scored 103 in the previous game — but a miscommunication between the youngster and Mushfiqur while running between the wickets in the 39th over, saw him fall two runs short of the three-figure mark. But before that, Afif and Mushfiqur strung together a 147-run fourth-wicket stand to help rebuild the innings after Nazmul XI lost three quick wickets. 

Afif, who played a 108-ball 98-run knock, was the most impressive one with the bat today. From playing pull shots against pacers to not hesitating to use his feet against spinners, Afif mesmerized everyone with shots all around the ground. Mushfiqur however played more sensibly while Afif took the charge during their partnership. The wicketkeeper-batsman, who was dropped on 1 by Mehidy Hasan Miraz off a Sumon Khan delivery in the 11th over, scored a 92-ball 52 featuring only a solitary boundary. 

Mushfiqur repeated the same mistake that he made in the previous game. Just like the previous match, Mushfiqur once again tried to scoop a pacer — this time Ebadot Hossain in the 42nd over — and was only able to give a simple catch to the wicketkeeper.

Najmul XI were left in a spot of bother after losing two set batsmen in quick succession. However, a 70-run sixth-wicket stand between Irfan and Towhid Hridoy — the same duo that helped their side win from a difficult position when the same two sides met in the opener — helped Najmul XI redeem themselves.  Irfan remained unbeaten for a quickfire 31-ball 48 laced with four boundaries and two maximums while Towhid scored a 29-ball 27. 

For Mahmudullah XI, right arm pacer Rubel Hossain remained the most impressive with the ball. Rubel, who returned match-winning figures of three for 16 in five overs against Tamim XI, gave his side a brisk start. He removed Soumya Sarkar (8 off 4) and Najmul Hossain Shanto (3 off 14) in a similar fashion as both the batsmen dragged outside off deliveries onto their stumps. Rubel later scalped the wicket of Rishad Hossain at the death and finished with figures of three for 53 in his 10 overs that involved two maidens. Young left-arm spinner Rakibul Hasan also remained instrumental for his side, giving away just 32 runs in 10 overs without scalping a wicket. 

Mahmudullah XI decide to bowl 

Mahmudullah XI won the toss and decided to bowl against Najmul XI in the fourth match of the BCB President’s Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today. 

The 50-over tournament remains evenly poised with all three teams having won one of the two matches played till now. The tournament has been a low scoring one as it saw only one team surpassing the 200-run mark when Mahedi Hasan’s blistering 57-ball 82 saw Tamim XI post 221 for nine and romp to an eventual 42-run victory against Najmul XI on Thursday. 

Mushfiqur Rahim, playing for Najmul XI, became the first centurion of the tournament but his 109-ball 103 was not enough to see his side through. 

Najmul XI had beaten Mahmudullah XI by four wickets when they met in the opener and will be looking to get a similar result today. Mahmudullah XI, who sealed a five-wicket victory against Tamim XI in their previous game, would want to pick up from where they had left.  

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