Khulna Division kept their noses ahead in the NCL title race after crushing Chittagong Division by an innings and 24 runs on the third afternoon at the BKSP-3 ground. They moved to 120 points, but the title will only be decided when the match between Rangpur and Dhaka Metro ends on Thursday.
Khulna, Dhaka and Rangpur started the seventh and final round tied on 96 points. Khulna's win over Chittagong gave them 24 points (16 points for the win + 8 first-innings points); Rangpur have already secured nine first-innings points, have a chance to pick up 25 from their match, and move to 121. Dhaka, the defending champions, are out of the race having earned only seven first-innings points.
Chittagong were bowled out for 190 after deciding to bat first. Their only bright spot was Nafees Iqbal, who missed out on an 11th first-class century by three runs. He made 97 off 197 balls with 14 fours and a six. Offspinner Mahedi Hasan took four wickets.
Khulna's reply began poorly and they fell to 72 for five before Tushar Imran, who made 70, and Ziaur Rahman added 79 runs for the sixth wicket. Ziaur and Mehedy Hasan, who made 80, then put on 131 runs for the seventh wicket.
Ziaur added a third substantial partnership, raising 71 runs for the eighth wicket with Abdur Razzak. Ziaur ended on 122 runs off 134 balls with seven fours and ten sixes, his third century in this season's NCL.
But it was Khulna's left-arm pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman who was adjudged man-of-the-match for his five-wicket haul in the Chittagong second innings. They were bowled out for 155 runs in 55.4 overs, with Mustafizur claiming 5 for 28 in 13.4 overs.