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October 26, 2011
Any doubts about the playing conditions at the Sylhet Stadium were blown away by Sohag Gazi's whirlwind first-innings 140 for Barisal Division, but, ultimately, it was Abdur Razzak's record-breaking first-class figures of 15 for 193 (bettering Elias Sunny's 13 for 106 against Sylhet Divison in 2008-09) that gave Khulna Division a smooth eight-wicket win.
Gazi's maiden first-class century included 20 fours and three sixes, an innings that rescued Barisal from being shot out for a low total. Khulna replied in kind, with Razzak hitting 69 of 63 to help his side take a 30-run lead. He followed up an eight-for with seven wickets in the second innings that kept Barisal Division to 194, as only Salman Hossain offered some resistance. Khulna Division then chased down 165 in little over 40 overs, with Amit Majumder and Tushar Imran hitting unbeaten half-centuries and sharing a 120-run third-wicket stand.
Dhaka Metropolis continued to be in top form in the National Cricket League, beating Dhaka Division by seven wickets, within two days, at the Shahid Kamruzzaman Stadium in Rajshahi. The stadium's pitch was in the spotlight over the weekend, but the low scores were more the batsmen's fault than that of the surface, which offered some sideways movement.
It was Dhaka Division who took a first-innings lead of 24 runs, despite being bowled out for 132, as newcomer Mohammad Shahid bowled a fiery spell late on the opening day. But Dhaka Metropolis bounced back to skittle out the divisional side for just 140 in their second innings, Arafat Salahuddin completing eight wickets in the match with his Ian Austin-like medium pace. Rony Talukder hit 80 out of the total of 140, putting the other batsmen's early-season form into perspective. Dhaka Metropolis lost two early wickets in the fourth innings before Asif Ahmed and Mohammad Ashraful added 129 for the third wicket, setting up an easy win and 12 points for their side.
Rajshahi Division prevailed in the battle of the northern teams, beating Rangpur by 58 runs at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium in Bogra. It was the first win of the season for the defending champions, who were rolled over by Dhaka Metropolis in the first round.
Rangpur Division, however, had the better of the exchanges in the first innings. They took a 24-run first innings lead courtesy half-centuries from Liton Das and captain Tariq Ahmed, and handy cameos by Dhiman Ghosh and Saymon Ahmed. Farhad Hossain's 84 in Rajshahi Division's second innings helped them to a modest 186 run lead, which proved to be more than enough. Rangpur Division were bowled out for 128 on the final day. Farhad Hossain contributed with the ball too, picking up four wickets, as did left-arm spinner Saqlain Sajib.
Nafees Iqbal's hit a first-class century for the first time in almost three years to set up Chittagong Division's six-wicket win over Sylhet Division at the BKSP No. 2 Ground in Savar.
Nafees, the elder brother of Bangladesh batsman Tamim Iqbal, struck eleven boundaries in a seven-hour knock that ensured Chittagong Division crossed Sylhet Division's first innings score of 270, which was painstakingly piled up in their usual style. The innings took them into the tea break on the second day, forcing a declaration when nine down, after which Chittagong Division took almost the same number of overs to make 425. Sylhet Division were poor in their second innings, as Kazi Kamrul Islam, Noor Hossain and Faisal Hossain took three wickets each. As a result, Chittagong Division had to chase a mere 29 runs on the final day. They made rather heavy weather of the paltry target, losing four wickets before Aftab Ahmed hammered two sixes to seal their second win in a row.
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