Soumya Sarkar finally gave full signs of him getting back to his best on Tuesday when he hit a swashbuckling 208 off 153 balls for Abahani Limited to become country’s first cricketer to score a double hundred in List-A cricket.
Soumya’s off-form with the bat was a major concern for Bangladesh ahead of the ICC World Cup as the southpaw failed to live up to expectations in most of the initial Dhaka Premier League matches that caused much headache to the team management and selectors.
In the first 11 matches he played for Abahani in this year’s DPL, he scored a mere 197 runs at an average of 17.91 and was unable to score a single 50 plus innings.
Despite his poor form, the Bangladesh Cricket Board kept faith on the batsman and included him for their 2019 World Cup squad and Soumya proved their decision right by scoring back-to-back hundreds in the last two Super League matches.
The left-handed opener struck 106 off 79 balls against another title-aspirant, Legends of Rupganj, in a crucial encounter on Sunday at the BKSP.
Within two days Soumya struck the highest individual List-A innings from a Bangladeshi against Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club at the same venue, surpassing Roqibul Hasan’s 190 in 2017.
In his records galore innings, Soumya smashed 14 fours and 16 sixes, the most number of sixes by any Bangladeshi batsman in a List-A match, overtaking his own previous record alongside Mashrafee bin Murtaza and Saif Hassan, who earlier hit 11 sixes in a List-A match.
Soumya was also involved in a massive 312-run opening stand, a new Bangladesh record with Jahurul Islam (100), who completed his fifth List-A hundred and helped Abahani chase down 319-1 and win successive DPL titles.
Two centuries in as many matches also helped Soumya furnish his DPL stats this year as he finished the tournament with 511 runs at an average of 42.58.
‘At first I was nervous to see the target 300. Chasing 300 runs is always a difficult thing...We planned that we would play normal cricket and if we scored 40 runs in first 10 overs, it would be all-right,’ Soumya told reporters after the match.
‘The wicket was very good. The ball was coming onto bat easily. We were trying to make our partnership bigger in first 20 overs so that the remaining 30 overs became easy.’
Soumya said he was not thinking of scoring a 200 until he made 190 and he didn’t want to waste the opportunity.
‘Till 190, it was not in my mind…Then I realised not to waste the chance and score the double hundred at any cost. There were some nervousness going as Omi [Jahurul] bhai was also close to making his hundred. Then we were playing for singles,’ he said.
Soumya claimed that the double hundred would surely boost his confidence for national team’s next assignments in Ireland and the World Cup, scheduled to start from May 30 in England and Wales.
‘Of course, when you score runs, you will surely feel good. It increases your confidence as well,’ said Soumya.
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