All four matches of the first round of the National Cricket League (NCL) ended in draws after rain hampered play across the country. The third days of every game were washed out, but there was some play possible on the fourth in Fatullah and Khulna.
At the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium, Khulna Division made home advantage count. Their 153-run first-innings lead over Dhaka Division puts them on top of the NCL points table.
Batting first, Dhaka were bowled out for 187 with only 16-year old Saif Hassan offering any resistance. He batted over three hours for his 68, which included 10 fours, but found little support from the other end. Left-arm pace sensation Mustafizur Rahman and experienced left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak took four wickets each.
Shakib Al Hasan, playing his first domestic first-class match in nearly three years, had a tough day. He took 1 for 49 and was dismissed for 13, batting at No. 3. However, Khulna were stabilized by fifties from Mohammad Mithun and Nurul Hasan. That foundation set up a formidable first-innings total of 340. Left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain took 7 for 119, the fourth time he has taken a haul this big in a first-class innings.
The other Tier-1 match in Bogra lost two of four days to rain forcing Rangpur Division and Dhaka Metropolis to settle for a draw.
Batting first, Dhaka Metropolis were bowled out for 238. Marshall Ayub, Shamsur Rahman and Elias Sunny made half-centuries while offspinner Mahmudul Hasan took his sixth five-for in first-class cricket.
Rangpur had run into early trouble as well, slipping to 45 for 3, but Dhiman Ghosh's unbeaten 85 helped them recover well enough to claim a slim first-innings lead and eight points as a result. He added an unbroken 133 for the sixth wicket with Ariful Haque (48 off 99) to put Rangpur ahead by 28 runs at the end of the second day. That was where they stayed with the final two days washed out.
In Fatullah, Chittagong Division could only bat for 18 minutes on the fourth and final day after Sylhet Division declared on 352 for 8.
Rajin Saleh, Ruman Ahmed and Rahatul Ferdous made 74, 80 and 56 not out respectively. Left-arm spinner Nabil Samad switched from Sylhet to Chittagong this season and took it to his old team, claiming 3 for 78 in 37 overs
After sitting out most of the second and third days, Chittagong's openers could bat for just four overs, in which Tamim Iqbal and Yasir Ali added 36 runs.
In the other Tier-2 match, hosts Rajshahi Division may have been the only team benefited by rain as they escaped with a draw against Barisal Division.
Batting first, Barisal were led by Mosaddek Hossain's 122 and fifties from Shahriar Nafees and Sohag Gazi to post 302 runs in 78.2 overs.
Rajshahi's left-arm spinner Sunzamul Islam took 6 for 123. But his team-mates produced an appalling display with the bat to be bowled out for 93. Fast bowler proved their undoing as Tawhidul Islam took 6 for 31 and Golam Kabir contributed three wickets.
The rapid pace of the match continued as Rajshahi then bowled Barisal out for 160 with Sunzamul completing his second 10-wicket haul in first-class cricket. Set 370 to win, Rajshahi were 25 for 0 when rain arrived.
Shakib Al Hasan
National Cricket League
Bangladesh Domestic Season