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NCL Round 2: Najmul Hossain Shanto scores 103*; Ashraful, Sharifullah pick up hat-tricks

Despite a draw against Rangpur Division, Dhaka Division retain their top position in tier 1

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
File photo: Najmul Hossain Shanto scored an unbeaten hundred against Dhaka Metropolis  •  AFP/Getty Images

File photo: Najmul Hossain Shanto scored an unbeaten hundred against Dhaka Metropolis  •  AFP/Getty Images

Sylhet Division picked up their first-ever win in tier 1 of National Cricket League 2021-22 when they beat Khulna Division by four wickets. Still, Dhaka Division retained their top position after their draw against Rangpur Division.
In tier 2, Barisal Division ended in a draw.
Best batters
There were three centuries in the second round, and two of them came on the first day. Dhaka Divison's Abdul Mazid and Saif Hassan added 118 runs for the second wicket against Rangpur, with both reaching the three-figure mark. Mazid struck ten fours and three sixes in his 110, while Saif made 107 with eight four and two sixes.
The other century came from Najmul Hossain Shanto, who made an unbeaten 103 with the help of eight fours and a six in Rajshahi's drawn game against Dhaka Metropolis.
Best bowlers
The veteran Mohammad Ashraful took the first hat-trick of his first-class career during Barisal's big win over Chattogram. Ashraful removed Sadikur Rahman, Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Yasir Ali in the eighth over of Chattogram's first innings. He finished with figures of 5 for 53.
Dhaka Metropolis' Sharifullah also took a hat-trick during his 5 for 70, dismissing Pritom Kumar, Taijul Islam and Asaduzzaman Payel against Rajshahi.
Seamer Rejaur Rahman Raja starred for Sylhet with his eight-wicket match haul against Khulna. Raja's 5 for 51 in the second innings helped bowl out Khulna for 178, giving Sylhet a chance to come back into the game. During Barisal's win against Chattogram, left-arm spinner Monir Hossain took eight wickets. For Chattogram, Hasan Murad and Nayeem Hasan took nine wickets each in the game.
Best match
Sylhet chased down a target of 203 on the final day to beat Khulna. Amite Hasan and Jaker Ali made 41 each, but it was Shahanur Rahman and Tanzim Hasan Sakib who took them home with a 26-run unbroken stand for the seventh wicket.
In the low-scoring game, Khulna were bowled out for 196 in the first innings but restricted Sylhet to 172 to take a 24-run lead. But Raja's five-wicket haul meant Sylhet had a modest target in front of them, which they clinched on the final day.
Players to watch
Shanto, Saif and Nayeem would feel they are priming themselves for the Test series against Pakistan next month. It is important that Bangladesh's Test specialists get runs and wickets under the belt. Nayeem and Saif have shown good form, while Shanto's second-innings century will encourage him for the rest of the tournament.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84