A draw would have been enough for Khulna Division to seal a hattrick of titles in the National Cricket League (NCL) but they opted to celebrate it with a crushing innings and 49-run win against Dhaka in the fourth and final day yesterday.
This is Khulna’s sixth NCL title and subsequently they have surpassed five-time NCL champions Rajshahi Division to become the country’s most decorated first-class team.
Dhaka resumed the day on 169 for 4 and were eventually bundled out on 297 in the morning session.
It was man-of-the-match Mehedi Hasan Miraz who set up the easy win for Khulna by picking up career-best figures of 7 wickets for 24 runs to dismiss Dhaka for just 113 in the first innings. In the second innings, the young right-arm off-spinner completed his third ten-wicket haul in first-class cricket.
Earlier, Khulna declared the innings on 459 for 8 after Anamul Haque smashed his second double hundred of the season alongside Mahedi Hasan, who scored his second century of the season by adding 177.
With 25 points from six games, Khulna remain on top of Tier-1 but on the other hand, the defeat meant that Dhaka have joined Barisal at the bottom of the table on 10 points. However, by dint of the most number of wickets taken in the tournament, Barisal managed to stay in Tier-1 while Dhaka were demoted to Tier-2.
Rajshahi, who had already confirmed their promotion to Tier-1 during the previous round, ended their campaign with a draw against Dhaka metro and a total of 25 points from six games.
During the encounter Rajshahi posted the highest team total of this season, riding on a fifth first class century from Forhad Reza, as the side were all-out on 668. Forhad scored 106 off 151 balls that featured 12 fours and five sixes. It was the third century of the innings after Nazmul Hossain’s 194 and Mizanur Rahman’s 175.
Metro’s left-arm spinner Nihad Uz Zaman and pacer Taskin Ahmed were the pick of the bowlers for the side as the former bagged four wickets while the latter bowled a fiery spell to dismiss Sabbir Rahman (0), Mushfiqur Rahim (8) and skipper Jahurul Islam (22) in no time.
In reply, Metro were in a spot of bother when Rajshahi’s pacer Shafiul Islam and Delwar Hossain scalped three and two wickets respectively – leaving them at 118.
Meanwhile, all eyes were on Chittagong’s Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium where Rangpur’s Nasir Hossain was eyeing his maiden triple hundred after resuming on 270 against Barisal. The right-hander is surely disappointed though as he offered a simple catch at deep square-leg to Fazle Rabbi off a short Linkon Dey delivery just five runs shy from the feat.
After Nasir finished on 295 off 510 balls, including 32 fours and three sixes, Rangpur declared the innings on 614 for 7.
In reply, Barisal scored 217 for 4 with Salman and Mosaddek Hossain scoring half centuries. Their stubborn stand for the fifth wicket made sure the game ended in a draw.
In the other game at Sylhet, in reply to Chittagong’s second innings 380, veteran Rajin Saleh smashed a crucial hundred to help the home team secure a draw. Sylhet posted 309 for 7 in the second innings after being bundled out for just 137 runs in their first essay. Rajin was finally dismissed on 104 off 336 balls, his 18th first class hundred, which included 12 fours and three sixes.
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