Superb Sabbir sinks Pakistan

Middle-order batsman Sabbir Rahman delivered a morale-shattering blow on Pakistan scoring a swashbuckling century to lead the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI to a thrilling one-wicket win over the visitors in their only practice match on Wednesday.In a sublime effort, Sabbir left Pakistanis shell-shocked with 123 off 99 balls as BCB XI reached 270-9 in 48.5 overs after restricting Pakistan to 268-9 on a decent pitch at Fatullah.The game had all kinds of twist and turns which in one hand entertained some eight thousand fans present at the venue and on the other hand, provided Pakistan a strong message on what to expect in the series.BCB XI included out-of-form opener Tamim Iqbal in the last minute on his personal request and rested designated skipper Nasir Hossain, giving Mominul Haque the honour to lead the side.Bowlers did well to contain Pakistani batsmen despite Mohammad Hafeez scoring 85 at the top and Fawad Alam adding an unbeaten 67 off 58 balls in the middle.But replying to the total, the BCB XI got off to a stuttering start after being reduced to 9-2 before Sabbir, promoted at number four, attempted to rescue the innings.

The free fall of wickets saw Liton Kumar (22) and Mominul (12) followed openers Tamim (nine) and Rony (0), to leave the BCB XI wobbling at 81-2.However, Sabbir refused to get bogged down and with Imrul Kayes launched a counter-attack to which Pakistan had no answer.Imrul provided him with the required company with a 124-run stand that helped Sabbir demonstrate his plan on his own terms punishing all the Pakistani bowlers making them look like school boys lost in the world of big boys as he stroked nine sixes and eight fours.Sabbir was lucky on eight when wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed spilled a flying catch off Wahab Riaz, who brought the visitors back into the game by removing Imrul that looked to derail Bangladesh chase.Sabbir heroics ended when Haris Sohail covered a long area to take a   diving catch and soon some few more wickets followed to put the local team into pressure.Sohag Gazi made a good contribution in the late order with 36 off just 28 balls before Taijul Islam and Mohammad Shahid struck two boundaries in the penultimate over to seal the contest.Earlier in the morning, Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first with skipper Azhar Ali and Hafeez making a cautious start. Muktar Ali provided BCB XI their opening breakthrough by removing Azhar (27) when his inside edge was sharply gloved by Liton Kumar.Hafeez survived against a loud leg-before appeal from Muktar and followed that with a clean six over his head immediately in an apparent effort to accelerate the run rate.Shuvagata picked up 3- 39, that included the prize scalp of Hafeez, who smacked four sixes and nine fours in his 79-ball innings.

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