Dhaka stormed to a massive innings and 34 runs victory over Sylhet while Rajshahi were close to their second consecutive win at the end of the second day in the National Cricket League yesterday.
Khulna continued their second innings blues when they were shot out for 204 runs. That set visitors Chittagong a winning target of 367 runs. At stumps, they were 25 for no loss. Sylhet, forced to follow on after going down for only 96 in the first innings, again showed their batting frailties, being bowled out for a slightly-improved 221 runs.
The win gave Dhaka a maximum of 16 points, while Sylhet had to be content with three bowling points.
In Rajshahi, the hosts had Barisal in the ropes, trailing by seven runs after they followed on. At the end of the third day, Barisal were 216 for nine.
Resuming the day on one run, Sylhet lost opener Imtiaz Hossain when the right-hander edged to Anwar Hossain off Mohammad Sharif for 11.
Wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim was first of left-armer Mehrab Hossain's victims, falling to a catch to Shamsur Rahman. He scored only 1.
After Golam Rahman was bowled by Mehrab on 48, captain Rajin Saleh and Alok Kapali batted with contrasting styles. Rajin, ever the stubborn batsman, scored his 32 off 87 balls while Kapali was more enterprising in scoring 29 off 33 balls, including five boundaries. But one similarity was that both batsmen failed to take Dhaka to the last day.
Tail-enders Nazmul Hossain and Enamul Hossain delayed the inevitable, adding 79 for the ninth, with Nazmul scoring 45 and Enamul chipping in with 36.
All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan backed up his first innings hundred with a composed half-century to keep Khulna on top at the Birsreshtha Shaheed Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman Stadium.
His 69-ball 50 gave Khulna the much needed push to set Chittagong a target of 367 runs on the last day. After scoring 108 in the first innings and two half-centuries in Dhaka, Shakib struck three fours and a six in his fourth successive good score in three games (two first-class and one one-day).
Apart from Shakib, none of the batsmen could match their first innings verve. With focus on setting Chittagong a target, they threw their wickets and in the end, another crucial 30 from Mashrafe Bin Mortaza took the lead past 300 runs. Chittagong's opening bowler Tariq Aziz took four for 25.
Chittagong had the Iqbal brothers to thank as Tamim and Nafis made sure there was no damage in the nervous last hour.
Earlier, left-armer Syed Rasel cleaned up the tail claiming all three first innings wickets to give Khulna eight bonus points. Chitattgong however took only one batting point, in addition to their four bowling points.
Chittagong need a further 342 runs for an outright victory.
Tottering on 77-9, Barisal added ten more to be forced to follow on by 214 runs. Hannan Sarkar continued his bad game when edged an outswinger from Rajshahi's Mohammad Shahjada to skipper Khaled Mashud, with the score on 15. Mashud's counterpart Nafees followed suit, being bowled by seamer Delwar Hossain next over for only 12.
At one point, Barisal slumped to 62-6. But plucky Shaheen Hossain and inform Raisul Islam made sure the match went to the final day, as they added 72 for the seventh wicket. Before being caught and bowled by Suharwardi Shuvo, Raisul scored 52 in more than two hours, hitting five boundaries.
Tail-enders Ali Arman and Talha Jubair added 57 for the ninth wicket of which Talha scored 45 off 43 balls.
For the hosts, Shuvo took three for 66 while Shahjada and Forhad took two each.
Rajshahi, with seven bonus points, are just a wicket away from picking up another victory, following their rout of Sylhet in the opening game.
KHULNA: First innings 410 all out and second innings 204 all out in 67 overs (Sadat 4, Kayes 7, Bashar 11, Tushar 26, Shakib 50, Sahagir 23, Mashrafe 30, Salim 3, Ziaur 23, Murad 9*, Rasel 6; Tariq 4-25, Rubel 1-44, Ashiqur 1-31, Saju 2-52, Ehsanul 2-46).
CHITTAGONG: First innings 248 all out in 71 overs (Tamim 1, Nafees 35, Salahuddin 4, Nazimuddin 30, Ehsanul 11, Faisal 85, Dhiman 46, Ashiqur 1*, Tareq 13, Saju 0, Rubel 0; Mashrafe 1-49, Rasel 4-48, Murad 4-69) and second innings 25-0 (Tamim 9*, Nafis 13*).
RAJSHAHI: First innings 301 all out.
BARISAL: First innings 87 in 51.4 overs (Nafees 19, Hannan 4, Bashar 7, Rokibul 0, Ifhtekhar 13, Raisul 0, Arafat 5, Shaheen 7, Rajon 2, Talha 4, Sajid 10*; Forhad 3-12, Shuvo 3-31, Nayeem 3-7) and second innings 216-9 in 96 overs (Nafees 12, Hannan 3, Bashar 5, Rokibul 24, Ifhtekhar 7, Raisul 52, Arafat 0, Shaheen 29, Rajon 23*, Talha 45, Sajid 9*; Shahjada 2-29, Delwar 1-39, Forhad 2-47, Shuvo 3-66, Nayeem 1-25).
DHAKA: First innings 351-9
SYLHET: First innings 96 all out and second innings 221 all out in 72.3 overs (Imtiaz 11, Rahman 24, Rezaul 0, Rajin 32, Kapali 29, Sharifullah 15, Mushfiqur 1, Tapash 0, Nazmul 45*, Enamul 36, Hasibul 6; Mahbubul 1-33, Sharif 1-23, Mosharraf 3-86, Mehrab 5-43).
Result: Dhaka won by an innings and 34 runs.
Man-of-the-match: Mehrab Hossain (Dhaka).