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NCL Round-up: Salman Hossain carries Barisal to convincing win; Sunzamul bags ten in Rajshahi victory

Two rain-affected draws meant unbeaten Rangpur Division continue to remain atop the Tier-1 table

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Salman Hossain celebrates his second first-class century, Dhaka Metropolis vs Barisal Division, NCL 2021-22, Sylhet, November 17, 2021

Salman Hossain celebrates his second first-class century  •  Walton

The focus shifted to the Tier-2 matches in the National Cricket League this week after Barisal Division beat Dhaka Metropolis by seven wickets to get within less than two points of table-toppers Chattogram Division. Barisal were also helped in their hope for promotion as Rajshahi Division were victorious against Chattogram by 166 runs.
With both Tier-1 matches ending in draws after rain ruined the first day's play at the two BKSP grounds, Rangpur Division held their lead in the points table following the game against Dhaka Division, which keeps them unbeaten in the league, while Khulna Division and Sylhet Division stood at No. 3 and 4, respectively, following their own draw.
Best batters
Barisal's Salman Hossain celebrated his 50th first-class match by hitting his second century in the format, an innings worth 152 off 344 balls that included 15 fours and a six. That ton helped Barisal take a 261-run first-innings lead after Dhaka Metropolis were bowled out for just 87.
Rajshahi's young wicketkeeper Pritom Kumar struck his maiden first-class hundred as he made 117 against Chattogram. He struck 11 fours and a six in a 163-ball knock that helped revive Rajshahi in the second innings. He added 198 for the sixth wicket with the veteran Farhad Reza, who blasted five sixes and seven fours in his innings of 111 from 113 balls.
For Chattogram, left-hand opener Pinak Ghosh made 102 with eight fours and two sixes to reach his fourth first-class hundred.
Best bowlers
Left-arm spinner Sunzamul Islam was adjudged Player of the Match for his ten-wicket haul in Rajshahi's big win over Chattogram. Sunzamul finished with figures of 10 for 132 on his way to a sixth ten-for, which got him to joint-second position for most ten-fors in first-class cricket in Bangladesh. Abdur Razzak remains on top with ten such hauls.
In the same match, offspinner Nayeem Hasan also took a five-for, and finished with nine in the match, while left-arm spinner Hasan Murad grabbed 5 for 96 in the second innings.
For Khulna, pacer Al-Amin Hossain finished with figures of 9 for 116 against Sylhet.
Best match
Rajshahi were bowled out for 194 in the first innings but retrieved the advantage quickly when they bowled Chattogram out for 119. However, Rajshahi slipped to trouble again in the second innings when they were 133 for 5 at one stage, before Pritom and Farhad combined to add 198 runs.
They declared shortly after the pair was separated, but it was enough to bat Chattogram out of the game. Sunzamul took four wickets in the second innings as Chattogram were bowled out for 247.
Points to ponder
Rangpur (28.89) and Dhaka Division (25.40), who are separated by 3.49 points, will be battling for the Tier-1 title in the final round starting Wednesday. The promotion battle should also be close, with Barisal (26.64) less than two points behind Chattogram, who are leading the Tier-2 table with 28.10 points.
Players to watch
Pritom's century bodes well for Rajshahi's future as the once-mighty first-class team now languishes in the second tier. Meanwhile, Soumya Sarkar, who was recently dropped from the Bangladesh T20I team, made 57 for Khulna against Sylhet. Liton Das, however, managed only 24 for Rangpur against Dhaka Division.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84