The 15th National Cricket League came to an end yesterday with Dhaka, who had effectively won the championship earlier this week, being officially crowned winners of Bangladesh's premier four-day competition.
While the league did witness a number of good performances, it also showcased that it is yet to be rid of the traditional problems that come along with the competition every year. The most significant of these problems are the dead wickets which the teams are compelled to play on every year, and this year was no different.
Dhaka captain and former national pacer Mohammad Sharif earlier this week had expressed his frustration regarding the kind of wickets that the league was played on this season. He even went to the extent of saying that the country 'would not be able to create a decent cricketer' if such conditions continue to exist.
Sharif's worries are reflected in the statistics. The top five wicket-takers of the league this year have all been slow-left armers; and this list excludes Abdur Razzak, who had taken a 13-wicket haul in the sixth round.
While most of the wickets in the league did support the batsmen, some special performances retained their sheen. Young Muktar Ali's 16 sixes -- which equalled the first-class record for the highest sixes in an innings -- and the newfound vigour of youngsters such as Nurul Hasan, Tanvir Haider, and Abdul Majid, to consistently be among the runs were some of the more positive aspects of the league.
Yesterday, Dhaka completed a comprehensive win over Khulna at the Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium in Cox's Bazar to sign off a brilliant four-day campaign this season. Set a target of 223, Rony Talukdar's 90 helped the capital city stride to a win. Nurul was adjudged the player of the match for his century in the first innings.
Meanwhile, second-placed Rajshahi completed a remarkable turnaround on the last day of their match in Chittagong. Having been set a target of 272 by Dhaka Metro, Rajshahi had crumbled to 120 for six on the third day, with many expecting them to eventually lose. However, a fine 155-run partnership between Sabbir Rahman and the in-form Forhad Reza, ensured that they lose no wickets on the fourth day and took Rajshahi over the line in Chittagong.