A wicket-hungry Taijul Islam saved his best bowling performance for last as his versatile slow left-armers earned the North Zone spinner a career-best eight for 86 in the first innings of the final of the Bangladesh Cricket League against South Zone at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
With Taijul drawing first blood, it remains to be seen whether his effort will be enough to counter Abdur Razzak in a match that has been dubbed as a battle between the slow-left armers.
His unflagging effort to constantly land the ball along the nagging corridor -- just like he did in the lead up to the finals -- paid majestic rewards on a wicket that barely offered any assistance for the bowlers, as Taijul himself said at the end of the day. “It was a good batting wicket, but I feel that the batsmen tried to do a little too much and that is why most of them fell,” said Taijul.
After being asked to bat in sultry conditions, with temperatures hovering around the 40-degree mark, South Zone openers Imrul Kayes and Anamul Haque comfortably negotiated the pacers and put on 44 runs in the first 14 overs.
Taijul's introduction in the 14th over however changed the scenario of the game as he sent both Imrul and Anamul back to the pavilion in his first four overs. North Zone captain Nasir Hossain stuck to his trump card for another ten overs and it paid off as Taijul then got Mithun Ali caught in the 28th over.
An 89-run stand between Soumya Sarker and Shuvagata Hom Chowdhury brought the Southerners back into the game as the pair took the side from 91 for 3 to 180. After Soumya retired hurt in the 47th over, Taijul was brought back to put pressure on the new batsman. He first got the set Shuvagata caught at mid-wicket in the 58th over and then dispatched Taiabur Parvez, who attempted a sweep and was caught at silly mid-on.
The wickets column saw a new name in the next over as another slow-left armer, Sanjamul Islam, bowled Shohag Gazi who attempted an off-drive.
Taijul, who was bowling non-stop from the 50th over, got rid of Abdur Razzak, Soumya -- who returned later in the day -- and Al-Amin by the 82nd over to complete his eight-wicket haul.
A seemingly calm player on the field, there were not much celebrations. With a string of slow-left armers in Bangladesh's domestic cricket Taijul knew that he has a long way to go before achieving his dream of playing for the national team. Speaking to reporters after the game, Taijul emphasised on the importance of concentration.
“I don't know if I am any different to the other slow left armers but I do know that I work very hard and concentrate a lot. I have not tried to do anything different in the last few matches but just keep my focus,” said Taijul.
The national selectors were impressed by the slow left-armer.
“He is a lot more conventional and different from the others. Most of our slow left-armers tend to bowl fast, but he has a loop and can vary his deliveries. Let's see what happens in the future,” said national selector Habibul Bashar.
SCORES IN BRIEF
PRIME BANK SOUTH ZONE: 271 all out in 83 overs (Soumya 70, Shuvagata 60; Taijul 8 for 86, Sanjamul 2-46)
BCB NORTH ZONE: 15 for no loss (Junaid 11)