Rajshahi beat Sylhet to lead the table
National Four-Day League
A remarkable last-day effort by the bowlers gave Rajshahi an away victory against Sylhet and more importantly helped them edge Barisal, who could only draw against Chittagong, to the top of the chart. Dhaka kept pressure on the leaders with a resounding win at home over a depleted Khulna side.
At the Sylhet District Stadium bowlers called all the shots and not a single half-century was hit in the four innings. Fast bowler Subashis Roy created havoc with bounce and seam movement as the visitors crumbled. Roy took 5 for 18 and his new-ball partner Rashedur Rahman took 3 for 52 as Rajshahi were skittled out for 117 before tea. Sylhet managed a slender lead after left-arm spinner Suhrawadi Shuvo (4 for 27) and fast bowler Mohammad Shahzada (3 for 30) restricted them to 172. The 55-run lead had looked handy though by the middle of day three as Rajshahi languished at 165 for 8. But the last three Shahzada, Alambir Kabir and Shafiul Islam pushed them past 250. Legspinner Monir Hossain took 5 for 72. Set 199 to win, Sylhet reached 77 for 2 at stumps on the third day but they slumped to 102 for 5 - losing three wickets inside three overs - the next day. Saqlain and Shafiul Islam picked up three wickets each as Sylhet were all out for 41 short of the target.
Barisal's match against Chittagong at Fatullah petered to a draw as neither side displayed enterprise to force a result. For Barisal, 19-year old opener Rony Talukder was the show-stopper on day one as he put on century stands with dominated the next two partnerships with Nasiruddin Faruque (49) and Imran Ahmed (32. He cut and pulled his way 176 off 224 and on his fall Tariqul Islam (55) took hold of the reins and Barisal finished with 385. Kamrul Islam and Tareq Aziz shared nine wickets between them. Chittagong's openers gave them a confident start but Nasir Hossain and Islam triggered a collapse which reduced them to 179 for 5. No. 6 Faisal Hossain revived the innings with 127 and Chittagong declared on 392 for 9 on the final day. The draw was inevitable and Nasiruddin helped himself to a century as Barisal's top order indulged in some batting practice
In Mirpur Dhaka beat an ICL-depleted Khulna side by 176 runs. However their victory was not assured at the end of day one when despite half-centuries from Shamsur Rahman and Nadif Chowdhury, they got only 251 before declaring. There were hints of a mauling on day two when Khulna collapsed from 63 for 4 to 110 all out. Captain Tushar Imran scored 50 but struggled to launch a rescue effort as wickets tumbled around him. Left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny took 4 for 45 after which Chowdhury bettered his first-innings performance with a century in the second. Set an impossible target of 408, Khulna folded in 83.2 overs despite half-centuries from Imran and Nazmus Sadat. Elias Sunny was the pick of the bowlers this time with 4 for 44.
There was more bad news for Khulna after fast bowler Robiul Islam was suspended for a match and fined 75% of his match fees for an altercation with Mahmudullah while batting on the last day. Mahmudullah was also fined for his involvement.
Player of the Week: Though he is regarded as one of the most naturally talented cricketers around, Chowdhury had not managed to raise him game to match the first-class level. His 54 and unbeaten 101 against Khulna however was a match-winning effort and bore all the marks of the class batsman he is. Cricket fans are hoping this will be a catalyst for consistency.
Rabeed Imam is editor of TigerCricket.com