Anamul, Ashraful sparkle in rain-hit matches
A round-up of the National Cricket League matches that ended on September 18, 2017
Rain in Cox's Bazzar meant that play was possible only on the second day in the match between Dhaka Division and Barisal Division. Play was eventually called off early on the fourth day with the game predictably ending in a draw.
The second day, which allowed 90 overs, saw opener Rony Talukdar (121) and No.3 Saif Hassan (106*) hit centuries to guide Dhaka to 309 for 2. Talukdar struck eight fours and six sixes in his 195-ball knock, while Saif hit nine fours and five sixes off 193 balls. The pair added 141 runs for the second wicket after Abdul Mazid was dismissed in the 28th over by Tanvir Islam. Monir Hossain was the other wicket-taker for Barisal.
Rain also affected the Khulna Division-Rangpur Division match at the Shiekh Abu Naser Stadium and ensured another draw. Play was called off on the fourth day at 2.40, about two hours before the scheduled time for stumps.
Mashrafe Mortaza, who returned to first-class cricket after three years, claimed match figures of 4 for 73, including 3 for 12 in the second innings, but Anamul Haque made a bigger impact, scoring his maiden first-class double-hundred.
In reply to Rangpur's 471, Khulna enjoyed an excellent start with Anamul and Robiul Islam Robi putting on 251 for the first wicket. The stand ended when Robiul was pinned lbw by Nasir Hossain for 100, but Anamul went onto make a big one. He struck 18 fours and two sixes during his 512-minute knock. The marathon innings came 10 days after BCB president Nazmul Hassan had made a recommendation to the selectors by asking them to consider Anamul as an opening option for the South Africa Test series later this month.
Nasir took 5 for 70 before Khulna declared their innings at 495 for 9 on the fourth day. Mashrafe and Al-Amin Hossain reduced Rangpur to 37 for 4 in eight overs before rain forced a premature end.
Farhad Hossain's 70 in the fourth innings - the only fifty of the match - proved the difference in a low-scoring clash as Rajshahi Division chased down 212 beat Sylhet Division in Rajshahi.
Rajshahi lost their openers Mizanur Rahman and Jahurul Islam early in the chase, but Junaid Siddique, who made 46, and Farhad, who cracked 11 fours and a six in his 99-ball innings, lifted their side. Farhad fell when the hosts were nine away from the target, but Myshukur Rahaman and the other Farhad - Reza - wrapped up a six-wicket win on the final day.
This after Rajshahi had been shot out for a mere 79 in reply to Sylhet's 128. Offspinner Sayem Alam's 6 for 32 proved vital in Sylhet securing a 49-run first-innings lead.
Sylhet were then reduced to 22 for 4 in their second innings but a series of cameos from the middle order and the lower-middle order helped the side to 162, setting Rajshahi 212. Farhad and Junaid then gave the chase direction and set up the win.
Rain thwarted Dhaka Metropolis' push for victory against Chittagong Divison at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. After opting to bat, Dhaka posted 344 on the back of Mohammad Ashraful's 19th first-class hundred, and first since 2013. He struck 12 fours and two sixes and added 148 for the fifth wicket with Mehrab Hossain jnr, who made 66.
Nihaduzzaman's 5 for 45 built on their good work and skittled Chittagong for 130 in 50.5 overs. After securing a 214-run first-innings lead, Dhaka scored 169 for 6 before declaring their second innings. Captain Marshall Ayub and Asif Ahmed hit fifties, setting Chittagong a target of 384.
Dhaka had Chittagong at 193 for 4 before rain stopped play on the fourth day at 2.30pm. The rain refused to relent, and the match was ultimately called off at 4.02pm.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84