Rajshahi beat Rangpur despite losing three players midway through the game
After the players' strike pushed back the third round of the National Cricket League by a day, Rajshahi Division clinched a low-scoring thriller against Rangpur Division, beating them by six runs in Cox's Bazar, despite three of their regulars being taken away - two to the national team and one for a trial with new spin-bowling coach Daniel Vettori - midway through the match. And across in Rajshahi, Chittagong Division registered their first win of the season, beating Sylhet Division by nine wickets.
Anamul Haque became the season's first batsman to score centuries in each innings of a match. The Khulna Division batsman started with a steady 126 off 224 balls that included ten fours and five sixes, before hitting eight sixes and nine fours in his 151 off 225 balls in the second innings against Dhaka Division.
Chittagong's 20-year-old Pinak Ghosh made his maiden first-class century, hitting two sixes and 16 fours in his 83-ball 100 against Sylhet. Mohammad Ashraful, playing for Barisal Division this season, also made a ton against Dhaka Metropolis in a rain-affected game in Bogra. Ashraful made 150 off 204 balls with 16 fours.
Legspinner Rishad Hossain took a five-wicket haul for Rajshahi before he was taken away to the capital to show off his skills to Vettori (Sabbir Rahman and Taijul Islam got national-team call-ups). Veterans Sunzamul Islam and Saqlain Sajib, however, didn't let Rishad's absence matter much, as their five-fors clinched them the hard-fought win over Rangpur.
Khulna offspinner Mahedi Hasan finished with match figures of 9 for 138 against Dhaka Division, while seamers Irfan Hossain and Mehedi Hasan Rana took five-wicket hauls for Chittagong. Sylhet pacer Abu Jayed was also impressive, returning 4 for 86 against Barisal.
Rangpur took a 73-run first-innings lead after they were bowled out for 274 runs. Rajshahi then made 190 in their second innings with an important contribution from Sunzamul, who top-scored with 36 from No. 8. Then he came out to sizzle through the Rangpur line-up, taking 5 for 48 while Saqlain took 5 for 35.
Khulna remain on top of the Tier 1 points table with 17.25 points, but Rajshahi's win got them into second place with 13.11 points. Chittagong have replaced Barisal on the top of Tier 2, now leading with 16.42 points, ahead by 1.8 points.
Players to watch
Anamul's twin tons would do enough to keep him in the selectors' attention if a replacement is needed in India. Jayed, who was retained in the Test squad, showed improvement with a four-wicket haul, while Rishad's five-for is also encouraging, but he needs time in the middle.