Sylhet end Dhaka Metro's winning streak
Sylhet brought Dhaka Metropolis back down to earth with an eight-wicket victory inside two days in this week's National Cricket League game at the Sylhet Stadium. The Dhaka Metro batsmen were very slow to get out of the blocks after the 12-day Eid vacation as they were bowled out twice for under 150 (118 and 132). Their bowlers did a fine job to restrict Sylhet to 231 in their only innings but it was not enough. The man who did most of the damage for Sylhet was left-arm spinner Enamul Haque Jnr, who took his first five-for in four years, picking up match-figures of 10 for 77. It was Sylhet's second win while Dhaka Metro suffered their first loss after winning the first three.
At the southeastern end of the country, the home side Chittagong handed Dhaka a 26-run defeat at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. The match was more a showdown between two spinners rather than the one-man show that went on in Sylhet. Pakistani legspinner Ameer Khan's match-haul of 12 wickets (six in each innings) was enough to destroy Dhaka, who were kept in the hunt by left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain's 11-wicket haul in the game. Despite Mosharraf's best efforts, it was always going to be an uphill task for Dhaka's batsmen against quality legspin. After Chittagong were bowled out for 176, Dhaka fell a run short in the first innings as they gave Ameer his first six. Chittagong's second innings score (213 in 65.3 overs) was only slightly better but it was enough for Ameer to formulate a victory as he took six more, with none of the Dhaka batsmen making an impression as they still search for a first win this season whereas Chittagong have already got their third.
In neighbouring Jessore, Anamul Haque's second century in the competition laid the foundation for Khulna's 31-run win over Rajshahi. Haque attacked from the word go as he ran to his fourth first-class hundred, on the first day. Though it wasn't enough for a huge first-innings score for Khulna, Dolar Mahmud's four wickets and Abdur Razzak's three ensured a 71-run first-innings lead. Khulna set the defending champions 285 runs to win and Rajshahi made a good enough start to the chase. After a batting collapse (71 for 1 to 94 for 4), the veteran Anisur Rahman steadied the innings. He stuck around for nearly three hours and while he did string together two partnerships (69 for the fifth with Jubair Ahmed; 61 for the 7th with Sanjamul Islam), Khulna's bowlers were always in control as Taposh Ghosh, Razzak and Mahmud all took three wickets each to complete their third win.
The Rangpur-Barisal game at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium in Bogra was truncated by rain on the last two days, with the final day being completely washed out. It began as a run-fest as Naeem Islam struck a patient 136 in Rangpur's 407 for 7 declared in the first innings. Shahriar Nafees replied with a ton and his partnership with the veteran Javed Omar was worth 167 runs. But when play was stopped for rain on the third afternoon with Barisal on 259 for 4, it was the end of the game.
Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka