North, Central Zone to meet in BCL final
North Zone 291 (Sajidul 76, Sanjamul 73, Ziaur 4-32) and 362 for 7 dec (Mushfiqur 89, Razzak 3-129) beat South Zone 205 (Soumya 51, Saqlain 6-74) and 278 (Sohag 85, Saqlain 4-90) by 170 runs
North Zone qualified for the Bangladesh Cricket League final after a 170-run win over South Zone in Mirpur. The game would have shaped into a thrilling finish but it tapered into a one-sided contest after the South Zone batsmen capitulated on the final morning.
In fact, the game had been in North's control after they had bowled out South for 205 runs in the first innings, taking a lead of 86 runs. Saqlain Sajib took 6 for 74, and the impressive left-arm spinner added four more in the second innings as South were skittled out for 278 runs.
North had a better second innings than the first, with Mushfiqur Rahim and Nasir Hossain contributing with eighties while Farhad Reza blasted an unbeaten 75. In the first innings, it was Sajidul Islam and Sanjamul Islam's 127-run ninth wicket stand that gave North a total to bowl at after they had slipped to 125 for 8 on the first day.
Central Zone 655 for 7 dec (Ayub 289, Mehrab Hossain jnr 218) drew with East Zone 396 for 8 (Faisal 92, Shahadat 3-73)
Marshall Ayub made the second highest score in Bangladesh first-class history when he made 289 in Central Zone's drawn game against East Zone in Bogra, which also helped his team to the final of the competition against North Zone. But strikingly, Ayub is now part of the highest-ever partnership in the country by adding 494 runs for the fifth wicket with Mehrab Hossain jnr, the second highest of all-time fifth-wicket stands.
Left-handed Mehrab also scored a double-hundred on the featherbed at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium but the pair joined at the crease after Central slipped to 56 for 4 in the 22nd over of their first innings. They slowly batted out the first day, and then the second before falling in the first session of the third day. Mehrab made 218 with 27 fours and two sixes while the right-handed Ayub struck 30 boundaries and four sixes in his 289.
Ayub was also part of the 420-run partnership that this pair broke, and has also crossed the 1,000-run mark in first-class cricket this season. Mehrab too has been among the runs, making 500-plus in the National Cricket League and is now second behind Ayub in the scorers' list in this tournament.
Apart from individual records, Central got what they needed from this game - enough points - to make it to the final. East Zone's first innings did not end as they made 396 for 8 on the final day with Faisal Hossain top-scoring with 92.
The final of the tournament will be held after the Bangladesh Premier League concludes on February 19.