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NCL Week 4: Zakir Hasan double-hundred keeps Sylhet on top

Musfik Hasan becomes the third quick to take an eight-for in Bangladesh domestic first-class history

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
File photo: Zakir Hasan led the batting charge for Sylhet  •  Raton Gomes/BCB

File photo: Zakir Hasan led the batting charge for Sylhet  •  Raton Gomes/BCB

Sylhet Division retained their Tier-1 top spot after drawing with Chattogram Division, with Rangpur Division now closely behind them following their three-wicket win over Dhaka Division.
Things are even tighter in Tier-2 where only six points separate three teams. Rajshahi Division went back to the top with an innings-and-68-run win over Barishal Division while Dhaka Metropolis defeated Khulna Division by four wickets.
Best batters
Zakir Hasan became the first wicketkeeper-captain to score a double-hundred in domestic first-class cricket in Bangladesh. He made 213 in Sylhet's drawn game against Chattogram, having struck 18 fours and two sixes during his seven-and-a-half-hour stay. Zakir added 176 runs for the fifth wicket with Asadulla Al Galib.
Veterans Jahurul Islam and Junaid Siddique struck centuries as they added 333 runs for the first wicket for Rajshahi against Barishal. It is the fourth-highest opening stand in first-class cricket in Bangladesh, with Jahurul top-scoring with 177 that included 17 fours and a six. Junaid made 149 with 15 fours and a six, while Pritom Kumar also added 101 off 89 balls with five fours and a six. Rajshahi's 508 for 8 declared is the highest total so far in the 2022-23 season.
Best bowlers
Musfik Hasan became only the third fast bowler in Bangladesh domestic first-class history to take an eight-wicket haul. His figures of 8 for 73 helped set up Rangpur's victory over Dhaka. Before Musfik, only Talha Jubair and Ruyel Miah had taken eight-fors.
Sohel Rana, too, helped Rangpur with his five-wicket haul, while Dhaka's Sumon Khan also took a five-for in this game.
Offspinner Mahedi Hasan took career-best match figures of 10 for 105 in Khulna's defeat to Dhaka Metro. Sylhet's veteran left-arm spinner Nabil Samad continued his excellent form with eight wickets in the match against Chattogram. Meanwhile, Rajshahi's seamer Nahid Rana took 5 for 62 against Barishal.
Best match
Rangpur's 73 all out is the second-lowest total in Bangladesh after which a team went on to win a first-class game. Rangpur first bowled out Dhaka for 84 but themselves fell eleven runs short in the first innings.
But Musfik's eight-wicket haul in 17.5 overs got Dhaka bowled out for 199 runs, with only Mahidul Islam making a half-century. Rangpur, however, had the experienced Suhrawadi Shuvo, who made a patient 72 as they overhauled the fourth-innings target of 211 runs in 65.3 overs.
Points to ponder
Sylhet are holding on to the lead in the Tier-1 points table, with two rounds of matches remaining. Rangpur could pose a last-minute threat to their maiden title aspirations.
In Tier-2, Rajshahi regained pole position with Barishal behind them, but the big news is giants Khulna only have two points, having been bowled out for 64, their second-lowest total in NCL history, against Dhaka Metro.
Players to watch
Musfik, the tall hit-the-deck bowler from Rangpur, is attracting a lot of attention with his style of bowling. He was not really impressive in the Under-19s and in the Dhaka Premier League last season, but has also taken17 wickets in the NCL so far, including the eight-wicket haul in this round.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84