The Dhaka Warriors moved into fourth place in the league and kept their semifinal hopes alive by beating the Chandigarh Lions by eight wickets in Panchkula on Friday night. Shahriar Nafees led Dhaka's charge and his unbeaten 73 ensured that the target of 138 was achieved in the 18th over.
Nafees's task was made easier by Dhaka's bowlers who had backed up their captain Habibul Bashar's decision to field first by restricting Chandigarh to 137 for 9 in 20 overs. After conceding 23 off the first two overs, Dhaka struck three rapid blows that irreparably damaged Chandigarh's innings.
Mohammad Sharif landed the first in the third over when he induced TP Singh to sky a pull to midwicket. Tapash Baisya struck the second, trapping Sarabjit Singh, who was given out after a referral, leg before off the last ball of the fourth over. The very next delivery, an awful mix-up resulted in Lou Vincent being run out without facing a ball. Dhaka had gone from 25 for 0 to 29 for 3 in nine balls.
They continued to lose wickets periodically and though three middle-order batsmen got starts - Chetan Sharma, Andrew Hall and Bipul Sharma scored more than 25 - no one got past 30. Mohammad Rafique was Dhaka's most successful bowler, finishing with 3 for 28.
The target didn't require a slam-bang approach and Dhaka's openers Nafees and Nazimuddin began steadily. They scored only 15 off the first three overs before tucking into Daryl Tuffey: Nazimuddin hit him for fours through cover and midwicket, while Nafees steered one to the third-man boundary. They batted sensibly, finding the boundary every other over while ensuring a steady stream of singles. By the time Nazimuddin fell, sweeping to midwicket in the ninth over, Dhaka had already reached 53. Aftab Ahmed fell soon after, and Nafees who was 33 at the time, became more determined to finish the job.
Nafees found an aggressive partner in Alok Kapali, the ICL's only centurion, and the pair added 76 in quick time to complete the victory. Both batsmen favoured the midwicket region, and sent the ball sailing over the boundary. Kapali raced to 32 off 17 balls and Nafees hit Love Ablish for three fours to improve his strike-rate. The end was emphatic - Kapali pulling the Chandigarh captain Hall to the midwicket boundary to spark off celebrations.