Rajshahi crush Khulna for fourth successive title
Rajshahi Division 258 (Siddique 95, Razzak 4-59) and 129 for 1 (Mizanur 80*) beat Khulna Division 212 (Mithun 83, Farhad 3-14) and 172 (Anamul 58*, Farhad 3-33) by nine wickets
Rajshahi took only three days to pick up their fourth successive National Cricket League trophy after crushing Khulna by nine wickets. It was Rajshahi's fifth title in the competition and the domination throughout the final was a reminder of how seriously they take first-class cricket.
Farhad Hossain was the main man for the northern divisional side, taking six wickets in the game as well as scoring a half-century in the first innings. He was given the new ball in both innings, a wily move from the Rajshahi camp, and it paid off. In the first innings, Farhad removed Soumya Sarkar in the first over after a delayed start due to rain. In the second innings, he dismissed Sarkar first ball, trapping him leg-before again.
Khulna had more in-form batsmen in their line-up but with Farhad rattling the top order so early with his part-time offspin, they seemingly gave up the mental battle in a game slated as a five-dayer. Rajshahi took a 46-run first innings lead with Junaid Siddique missing out on a century by five runs.
Junaid smashed 14 boundaries in his 133-ball innings and was tested due to the oppressive heat and humidity. That probably played a part in him giving away his wicket to the part-time offspin of Tushar Imran so close to a century.
Junaid shared a 173-run third wicket stand with Farhad, but Abdur Razzak took four wickets to bring Khulna back into the game. Khulna went on to succumb to spin in the second innings with left-arm spinners Saqlain Sajib and Sanjamul Islam running through the much-vaunted middle order.
With only 127 to win, Mizanur Rahman smashed an unbeaten 80 off 75 balls to ensure a quick finish and leave enough time for his team to do the Rajshahi jig for the cameras.
Farhad was named the Man of the Match and also the Man of the Tournament.