A magnificent unbeaten double hundred from right-handed opener Saif Hassan put Dhaka Division in the driving seat against Rangpur Division on the second day of a second-round National Cricket League match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram yesterday.
Dhaka had restricted Rangpur to 71 for two in 18 overs at the close after having declared on 556 for eight after tea. Saif, who retired hurt on 120 on Day One and came back yesterday to register his highest first-class score, said that he had to work hard for his 329-ball 220 yesterday.
“No specific plans [regarding a double hundred]. The team plan was to bat till after tea, so I played keeping that in mind. And when I went out there today, it was hard to score runs. All the fielders were placed deep and easy runs were not coming, so I had to proceed by taking singles. Almost 70 runs out of the hundred I scored today came from singles,” said Saif.
Saif, who has been in impressive form since Bangladesh A’s tour of Sri Lanka earlier this month, also said that he wanted to score a double ton after seeing Imrul Kayes score one in the first round.
“This year, I scored five centuries in one-day matches. I went to Sri Lanka with Bangladesh A, and I scored one there. There was also one against the Sri Lanka Emerging team. And in first-class matches, I had scored a double-century  two years ago. And I also saw Imrul bhai’s score and I thought it was an opportunity for me and that I should make it count,” said Saif, who harbours hopes of representing the national side one day.
After Saif’s heroics, Liton Das, who missed the first round of the NCL due to his Caribbean Premier League commitments, remained unbeaten on 51 off 64 as Rangpur finished the day with 71 for two.
In Bogura, Dhaka Metropolis quick Abu Hider bagged a fifer to help his side bundle Sylhet Division out for 319 runs after they had started the day on five for one and trailing by 241 runs. Hider, who returned figures of five for 55, scalped four wickets on the day. Dhaka Metropolis ended the day on nine for no loss in seven overs.
Meanwhile Khulna Division batsman Imrul came close to another landmark score but fell short by seven runs when he was out for a patient 190-ball 93 in the 63rd over in the match against Rajshahi Division in Khulna. Khulna managed 227 for six in 90 overs at the close.
In Fatullah, Mahidul Islam’s 158-ball 91 saw Chittagong Division score 356 all out in 134.3 overs after starting the day on 261 for four against Barishal Division. Following the exchange, Barishal could manage 104 for four in 43 overs before stumps.
SCORES IN BRIEF
Dhaka v Rangpur
Dhaka: First Innings 556 for 8 declared in 160 overs (Saif 220 not out, Rony 65; Shuvo 3-134, Sanjit 3-89)
Rangpur: First Innings 71 for 2 in 18 overs (Liton 51 not out; Sakil 2-16)
Rajshahi v Khulna
Rajshahi: First Innings 261 all out in 85.3 overs
Khulna: First Innings 227 for six in 90 overs (Imrul 93; Taijul 2-75, Shafiul 2-55)
Chittagong v Barishal
Chittagong: First Innings 356 all out in 134.3 overs (Mahidul 91; Monir 4-99, Mosaddek 2-29)
Barishal: 104 for four in 43 overs (Rafsan 49, Ashraful 4 not out; Nayeem 2-23)
Dhaka Metro v Sylhet
Dhaka Metropolis: First innings 246 all out and second innings 9 for no loss in seven overs (Naim 8 not out)
Sylhet: First innings 319 all out in 84.5 overs (Zakir 71, Jaker 71; Hider 5 for 55)