The very existence of the two teams in Dhaka cricket's top flight was hanging by a thread until the final delivery was bowled at the BKSP-4 in Savar yesterday. The equation at that moment was Brothers Union needing four runs off the last ball and Agrani Bank needing to stop a boundary for the common cause of avoiding the ignominy of being condemned to the lower tier.
Agrani's Indian recruit Rishi Dhawan, an all-rounder who played three ODIs for his country, bowled the last delivery at Nazmus Sadat. The right-hander played a pre-meditated ramp shot down to fine leg, where lanky pace bowler Al-Amin Hossain made a nervous attempt to stop the ball on the bounce. But the ball raced to the boundary, cruelly taking a feather touch of his outstretched arms, to save Brothers' blushes and sending Agrani back to where they belonged a season ago.
And with that priceless last-ball boundary, Brothers not only pulled off a sensational four-wicket win but also completed the highest successful chase in this year's Dhaka Premier League, and the second-highest in the competition's history. They scored 335 for six in 50 overs against Agrani's 334 all out in 49.1 overs in what was the final and deciding relegation league playoff match.
The defeat meant the bankers along with Kalabagan Krira Chakra, who earlier confirmed their demotion, will feature in the First Division league next year.
But the bankers certainly bowed out from the country's List A competition with their heads held high for the way they fought against an established side. They were also aggrieved at a couple of umpiring decisions in a high-scoring affair where national opener Soumya Sarkar hit a majestic 154.
After a forgetful time in the league between national commitments, the left-hander found his touch in what was his last act for the bankers. He started cautiously, scoring his first 50 off 67 balls, and completed his first century in three years off 107 balls. But his next 50 was something awe-inspiring; it took only 20 deliveries and contained four sixes, including three on the trot against leg-spinner Alok Kapali.
It was also the highest individual score in the league so far, pushing Abahani's young left-hander Nazmul Hossain Shanto's unbeaten 152 against Shinepukur to second place. Soumya struck nine fours and a staggering 11 sixes in his 127-ball knock and shared 171 runs for the fifth wicket with Dhawan, who smashed a 65-ball 80.
Brothers' chase, however, was more spectacular with openers Mizanur Rahman (62) and Junaid Siddique (83) putting on 121 runs in 13.4 oves. Myshukur Rahman (82) and Debrabata Das (73) provided the thrust in the middle.
But in terms of personal achievement Soumya will remember this game with a tinge of disappointment.
“It's really disappointing that we lost the most important game. But I'm happy that I could score a big hundred. I'm also happy that I could control my innings. I started cautiously, but once I was set I was confident of scoring a hundred,” Soumya told The Daily Star after the game, adding that his focus now will be to do well in the Bangladesh Cricket League, a four-day competition which resumes from April 10.
SCORES IN BRIEF
Agrani Bank CC: 334 all out in 49.1 overs (Nafees 24, Soumya 154, Salman 23, Dhiman 25, Dhawan 80 not out; Suhrawardi 3-48, Shakhawat 3-43)
Brothers Union: 335 for 6 in 50 overs (Mizanur 62, Junaid 83, Myshukur 82, Das 73; Dhawan 3-71)
Result: Brothers Union won by 4 wickets.