Dhaka Metro take Khulna's place at the top
Dhaka Metropolis reclaimed the top spot in the National Cricket League after a crushing 169-run win over Chittagong Division at the Sylhet Stadium. It was their fourth win in five games and pushed them into No. 1 in place of Khulna, who were defeated for the first time during this round of matches.
Youngster Tasamul Haque's maiden first-class century set up Dhaka Metro's first innings score of 393, while Mohammad Ashraful struck his first first-class ton in more than a year in their second innings to leave Chittagong with a formidable chase of 386 runs. Chittagong were two batsmen short - Faisal Hossain fractured his hand while batting in the first innings, and Yasin Arafat was injured while fielding on the final day - making the task that much more difficult. Left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny, who claimed a five-for in the first innings, and off-spinner Mohammad Sharifullah shared five wickets in the second innings as the eight Chittagong batsmen lasted just 53 overs, folding for 216. Tasamul was named the Man of the Match for his 125.
It was Rangpur Division's maiden first-class win, as they overturned Khulna Division by five wickets at the Shahid Kamruzzaman Stadium. Tariq Ahmed played the archetypal captain's knock, scoring 65 to help Rangpur reach their target of 223, after yet another poor first-innings show in which they conceded an eight-run lead after Khulna made just 139.
But after Khulna responded with 214 all out in the second innings, Rangpur given a steady start by their young openers Robiul Islam and Ahsanul Lipu. Robiul and Tariq went on to hit half-centuries and added 69 for the second wicket. Khulna's left-arm spinner Murad Khan was named Man of the Match for match figures of 11/129, with a first innings seven-for, though that proved to be not enough for Tushar Imran's side, which had a poor game with the bat.
At the Abdur Rab Serniabat Stadium, Syed Rasel gave one of his best all-round performances to help Barisal Division to a 159-run win over Dhaka Division, their first of the season.
After Dhaka took a 16-run first-innings lead in a low-scoring start, the left-arm seamer, Rasel, struck what was only his second first-class half-century when, at No. 8, he smashed 91 off 107 balls. This knock brought Barisal back into the game. On the final day, Dhaka needed a further 208 runs, chasing 263, but in less than two hours, Rasel's 5 for 13 skittled them out for just 103. It was a performance enough to win him the Man of the Match award. Dhaka captain Mohammad Sharif had taken a hat-trick in the second over of the match and finished with seven wickets in the game.
Rajshahi Division registered their third win of the season, this one a five-wicket victory over Sylhet Divison at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium.
Seamers Mukhtar Ali, Delwar Hossain and Jubair Ahmed shared nine wickets as Sylhet only managed 100 for 9 in their first innings. Enamul Haque's 6 for 42, though, meant that Rajshahi managed only a 75-run lead. However, Sylhet's main batsmen failed with the bat for the second time in the game, with only the promoted Shaker Ahmed (62) and tail-ender Tapash Baisya (59) managing to score fifties. Rajshahi had young wicketkeeper Hamidul Islam to thank, as his composed 63 got them to their target without much trouble. Hamidul was supported by the side's new captain, the veteran Anisur Rahman, who made 51. Mukhtar was named the Man of the Match for his seven wickets in the game.
Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka