Asif Ahmed smashes ton as Dhaka Metro stay top
Dhaka Metropolis regained top spot in the National Cricket League after their sixth-round win over Rangpur, by nine wickets at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan Ground in Savar. It was Asif Ahmed who set up the victory with an aggressive 152 that took him just over three-and-a-half hours to compile, and included 22 boundaries and a six. He shared a 225-run second-wicket stand with his batting hero Mohammad Ashraful, who made 71. Shamsur Rahman and Tasamul Haque also made healthy contributions in Dhaka Metro's 518 that went past Rangpur's strong first innings score by 164 runs. Left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny's six-for sunk the northerners in the second innings and gave Dhaka a meagre 30-run chase which they completed on the final day.
Khulna, who now trail Dhaka Metro by 7.22 points, crushed Chittagong by eight wickets in Jessore thanks mainly to seamer Al-Amin Hossain's twelve wickets. He first ripped through the Chittagong lower order in the first innings, in which they scored just 200 runs, before leaving an even bigger impression in the second innings. Al-Amin finished with 7 for 36 in the second innings, with Chittagong getting bowled out for 144 runs on the third day. Nazmus Sadat's quick half-century saw Khulna home inside three days.
Rajshahi moved into the top four through an easy win over Dhaka, by nine wickets at the Abdur Rab Serniabad Stadium in Barisal. Winless Dhaka were shot out for 131 twice, a display that sums up the season for the biggest division in the country. Rajshahi made just 214 in their first innings, with Hamidul Islam scoring 57, but the defending champions' bowling attack, led by left-arm spinner Saqlain Sajib and seamer Delwar Hossain, ensured the fourth-innings target was a modest one and Rajshahi chased it easily.
Sylhet are also in the top four, after a four-wicket win over Barisal at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong. In a close game, Barisal's Iftekhar Nayeem hammered 132 and 77 in each innings but it was not enough for the perennial underachievers. Sylhet banked largely on their seamers and Tapash Baisya and Abu Jayed took five wickets each in the first innings. Later it was left-arm spinner Enamul Haque Jnr who took a seven-for to bowl Barisal out for 199 runs in the second innings. Nadif Chowdhury played an important hand as Sylhet chased down the 186-run target on the final day.
Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka