Going into the fifth and final day with the team score poised at an impressive 254 for 3, in their pursuit of 572 and two set batsmen at the crease, North Zone did hold an outside chance of completing a remarkable chase in the final of the Bangladesh Cricket League.
However, the Northerners had a completely different outing at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium yesterday, as they lost their last seven wickets for just a 105 runs, handing the Southerners a massive 213-run victory.
It began with Nasir Hossain getting bowled by Al-Amin Hossain in only the second over of the day. The middle-order batsman left without adding a single run to his overnight score and that was the beginning of the end.
The next over saw young left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman trap Tanvir Haider in front. Forhad Hossain, who watched his teammates depart one after another from the other end, stuck in to reach his century off 177 balls. His was a fine innings considering the situation of the game. Having lost two wickets in two overs, Forhad and wicketkeeper Hamidul Islam attempted to stitch a comeback with a 44-run stand for the sixth wicket, however, South Zone captain Abdur Razzak sent both back to the pavilion in a span of six overs, after which the game sped to a quick finish and got over right before lunch.
An elated Razzak credited his team's unity behind the championship. "We were actually placed third before the final round and we weren't even guaranteed a place in the finals. From there to going on to lift the title, it feels really good. Every player played a part. It was a team effort," said Razzak.
According to Razzak it was the 200-run stand between Imrul Kayes and Mithun Ali, both scored centuries, that took the game away from North. Going into the final day the left-hander reckoned that, while they were the favourites, there was every chance for Nasir Hossain's side to make a come back.
"They needed 320 runs today to win the game. If they would have batted their full quota of 90 overs they would have gotten that. So both sides did have a chance to win. However with the huge target, we obviously had a bit of advantage for our side," said Razzak.
North Zone's Forhad Hossain, whose 129 went in vain, said that things unfortunately did not go according to their plan.
"We believed that we could reach the target only if we did not lose any wickets in the first hour. Unfortunately, Nasir and Tanvir were sent back and that's what changed the game.
"I am happy about my century, but my main aim was to play for the team," said Forhad.