Abahani finished their first round campaign in the Premier Division Cri-cket League with double delight as they not only strongly bounced back, riding on a fabulous hundred from Abdul Razzaq, but also saw their archrivals Mohammedan losing their first game yesterday.
The Pakistani all-rounder was the star of the day by making a career best 185 in the limited-over game which gave Abahani a massive 165-run victory over Surjo Torun Club, the outcome forced the last year runners-up to play the relegation league, at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.
The day was made even sweeter for the holders when they learnt that promotees Khelaghar pulled off the biggest upset in the tournament by snapping Mohammedan's all-win record. Khelaghar's four-wicket victory at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium might not have salvaged them from playing the relegation league but the outcome brought huge excitement in the league race as Abahani are now trailing the league leaders Mohammedan by just two points.
At Mirpur, it was a one-man show as Razzaq used his willow like as a sword to brutally punish the Surjo Torun bowlers. The right-hander never looked back after substitute fielder Raju failed to hold a straightforward catch when Razzaq tried to clear the long-off.
The mesmerising batting display of the Pakistani batter where he smote 18 boundaries and seven towering sixes helped Abahani to score the highest total of 335-8 in their share of 50 overs in the competition. Surjo Torun were nowhere in chase of the mammoth target and finally they were bundled out for 170 runs in 39.5 overs.
Smarting from two consecutive defeats, Abahani made a disaster start after being sent into bat first as they lost three wickets for 22 runs including the prized one of Shakib Al Hasan.
But Razzak changed the whole scenario with the assistance of Mahbubul Karim (35) and Nadif Chowdhury (61).
Razzaq had a good chance to join his compatriot Ziaur Rahman, who smashed a double hundred in a 50-over match in 2000 in favour of Kalabagan against Dhanmondi Club at BKSP, but he misjudged a slower delivery from national pacer Mahbubul Alam to reach at the safe hand of Indian Deepak Chougule at cover.
"I am delighted because it's my best score in the limited-over version at any level. Actually it was my day and I also got good support from two batsmen after a shaky start," said Razzaq.
At Fatullah, Mohammedan went into the last game of the first round with a hope that they would carry their four points advantage to the Super League to fulfil their hopes of regaining the title after eight years back but they lost their rhythm to lowly Khelaghar.
After one game against Abahani, injured left-handed opener Tamim Iqbal was given rest for the game and Moha mmad Ashraful and Shamsur Rahman got off to a promising start but the Motijheel innings lost its way once Ashraful was dismissed for 33 runs.
Left-arm spinner Monirul Islam made the damage by taking five wickets for 42 runs and another left-arm spinner Biswanath Halder took three for 36 as Mohammedan finished their 50-over quota with 205 for 9.
Mahmudullah Riyad's 62-ball 54 was not good enough to put on a fighting score.
In reply, Khelaghar lost wickets at regular interval but number seven batsman Monwar Hossain kept his nerve during an unbeaten 67-ball 64 with four fours and a six as Khelaghar posted 208 for 6 in 44.4 overs.
Elsewhere, in a low-scoring match at BKSP, Biman defeated Victoria by five wickets to improve their tally to 16 points from eleven matches.
Pacer Tareq Aziz Khan and spinner Elias Sunny shared six wickets as Victoria, who defeated Gazi Tank in the previous round to confirm the Super League berth, were bundled out for 111 runs in 38.1 overs.
Biman's top order also struggled but they finally reached the target of 112-5 in 35 overs.
ABAHANI: 335-8 in 50 overs (Karim 35, Razzaq 185, Nadif 61, extras 19; Monjurul 2-43, Mahbubul 3-72, Taposh 2-82).
SURJO TORUN: 170 all out in 39.5 overs (Mysukur 23, Deepok 61 not out, extras 3; Shuvasish 3-38, Sunny 2-25)
Result: Abahani won by 165 runs.
MOHAMMEDAN: 205-9 in 46 overs (Shamsur 35, Ashraful 33, Aftab 17, Riyad 54, extras 20; Monirul Islam Moni 5-42).
KHELAGHAR: 208-6 in 44.4 overs (Rakib 22, Niaz 29, Ashraful 43, Monwar Hossain 64 not out, extras 21; Rana 2-36)
Result: Khelaghar won by four wickets.
VICTORIA: 111 all out in 38.1 overs (Kamrul 46, Salahuddin 21, extras 7; Tareq 3-17, Mosharraf 2-14, Sunny 3-23).
BIMAN: 112-5 in 35overs (Sunny 22, Zahurul 15, Fernando 20, Tushar 27 not out, extras 12; Saju 2-24, Monir 2-28).
Result: Biman won by five wickets.