Mohammad Saifuddin had been making remarkable improvement with the ball and today his destructive spell saw Abahani Limited blow away Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club by a mammoth 165 runs at the Shere-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur during the Dhaka Premier League (DPL) Super League match.
The medium pacer has been suffering from a tennis elbow since the third ODI in New Zealand but continued playing for Abahani in the Dhaka Premier League and his performance today will no doubt help his chances of making Bangladesh’s World Cup squad.
After a torrid start with the bat from Abahani as they lost three wickets for 12 runs, Wasim Jaffer and Nazmul Hossain Shanto stood tall under pressure and starred in a 146-run fourth-wicket stand to revive the innings. Wasim (71 off 97) and Nazmul (70 off 83) fell in quick succession but Mohammad Mithun held on, hitting a 46-ball 41 while Mashrafe Bin Mortaza played a handy 21-ball 24-run knock to carry the side to 251 all out in 49 overs.
It was the Saifuddin show afterwards as he ran through the Doleshwar top-order to end with figures of five for nine in six overs -- his best-ever bowling performance in any form of cricket -- with two maidens and an economy rate of 1.50.
He picked up wickets consistently, removing Imran Uzzaman in the first over of the innings before removing Shykat Ali, Farhad Hossain, Marshal Ayub and Saif Hassan in the fifth, seventh, ninth and 11th over of the innings. Soumya Sarkar and Mehedi Hasan Miraz bagged a wicket each while Sunzamul Islam grabbed a pair as Doleshwar were bowled out for 86 inside 30 overs.
Earlier Abu Jayed showed promise with the ball when he bagged three wickets for Doleshwar for just 47 runs. He too is another who could hope to make the side for the World Cup in England as team management are considering playing a fourth seamer in Saifuddin and it would obviously mean having backup options in the pace bowling department to cope with a long tournament and injuries.
Mohammad Saifuddin showed a glimpse of his talent in the home series against Zimbabwe last year and on the tour of New Zealand this year and the 22-year-old is among the first choice for selectors as the seam-bowling all-rounder in the mega event starting on May 30.