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Khulna retain NCL Tier-1 title with crushing win

Khulna Division joined Rajshahi Division as five-time winners of the NCL title - the most for any team RisingBD.com

Khulna Division crushed Dhaka Metropolis by 398 runs in their final match, at the Fatullah Cricket Stadium, to successfully defend the National Cricket League Tier-1 title. Khulna finished on 58 points, which gave them an unassailable lead over second-placed Dhaka Division, who can only go up to 54 points even if they beat Barisal Division in Sylhet.

It was Khulna's fifth title win, which helped them equal Rajshahi Division, who haven't won the trophy since 2011-12. After Dhaka were set 509 to win, Khulna bowled them out for 110 with Al-Amin Hossain taking 6 for 41.

Abdur Razzak, the veteran left-arm spinner and Khulna captain, was delighted with the triumph. "Winning a first-class tournament is always pleasing," Razzak told ESPNcricinfo. "We worked hard this season. Tushar [Imran] and [Anamul Haque] Bijoy batted really well throughout the six games. We also wanted to dominate the tournament, and I am happy that we won the last game by such a big margin."

Khulna had started off poorly. After being invited to bat, they were bowled out for 207 with Dolar Mahmud taking a five-wicket haul in his first match of the season. Anamul Haque top-scored with 62.

But Khulna's bowlers fought back, with Al-Amin, Ashiquzzaman and Abdur Razzak taking three wickets each, to skittle Dhaka out for 122 in just 36 overs.

Anamul came good again in the second innings, and along with Tushar Imran, took Khulna to 423 for 5 before they declared with an overall lead of 509. Tushar's 138 off 169 balls, which came with the help of 14 fours and three sixes, was his third century of the season and 20th in his career. Anamul's 153-ball 122, with 12 fours and five sixes, was his second ton of the season.

With 184 runs in the match, Anamul was adjudged joint player-of-the-match, alongside Al-Amin who took nine wickets in the match.