Calculative cricket from Prime Bank South Zone put them in the driving seat after the second day of the sixth and final round of the Bangladesh Cricket League title decider against North Zone. Overnight batsman Imrul Kayes struck a century to facilitate the all-important first-innings lead at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna yesterday.
South Zone declared their first innings on 365 for eight, earning a total of eight bonus points -- four from batting, three from bowling and one for taking the first innings lead of 178 runs.
North Zone on the other hand earned two bowling points for picking up eight South Zone wickets in the first innings and are trailing by 146 runs on their second innings with Mizanur Rahman (17) and Junaid Siddique (14) to resume the third day on 32 without loss.
With 47 points at the start of the match -- 13 behind North Zone at the same stage -- a win from here will be enough for South Zone to clinch the title as they will get 10 points to make it a total of 18, which will take them to 65 points while North will be stuck on 62. On the other hand, North Zone have a daunting task ahead of them to save the game and if they are able to do so, they will retain their title as a draw will give them three points, taking them to 65.
Resuming the second day on 115 for one with two half-centurions in Anamul Haque and Imrul at the crease, the pair added 184 runs for the second wicket. The left-handed Imrul was eventually caught behind off the bowling of medium-pacer Forhad Reza for a 165-ball 107, his 17th first-class hundred during which he hit 13 fours and two sixes.
Anamul missed out on his ton and departed for 89 off 173 balls with seven fours and two sixes. The in-form Tushar Imran hit 65 -- his 56th first-class fifty -- and Mohammad Mithun added 49 before South Zone declared.
North Zone's experienced seamer Forhad ended up with figures of five for 57 to register his seventh first class five-for.
In the other match of the day at the Shaheed Kamruzzaman Stadium in Rajshahi, Central Zone batsman Abdul Mazid struck his second double hundred after the right-hander, having retired hurt on 159 the previous day with a groin injury, returned to bat on the second day against Islami Bank East Zone.
Mazid, who struck a six and a four off left-arm spinner Enamul Haque Jnr to reach the double hundred, was eventually dismissed by the same bowler after scoring 205 off 226 balls with 22 fours and eight sixes. Shuvagata Hom added 71 before Central were all out for 546 after resuming the day on 406 for four.
Off-spinner Sohag Gazi picked up his 14th five-wicket haul and ended with figures of five for 188 for East Zone.
East Zone's reply was a strong one as the talented Liton Das struck an unbeaten century as they reached stumps on 264 for three, cutting the deficit down to 282.
Liton reached his 12th first class hundred in just 90 balls and remained unbeaten on 139 off 125 balls with 23 fours and a six. Tasamul Haque added 67 during a 148-run third-wicket stand.
SCORES IN BRIEF
BCB NORTH ZONE V PRIME BANK SOUTH ZONE
North Zone: First innings 187 and second innings 32 no loss (Mizanur 17 not out, Junaid 14 not out)
South Zone: First innings 365 for 8 decl (Anamul 89, Imrul 107, Tushar 65, Mithun 49; Reza 5-57)
WALTON CENTRAL ZONE V ISLAMI BANK EAST ZONE
Central Zone: First innings 546 all out (Saif 21, Shadman 112, Mazid 205, Mehrab 25, Shuvagata 71, Mosharraf 21, Sharif 41; Jayed 2-51, Saifuddin 2-77, Shohag 5-188)
East Zone: First innings 264 for 3 (Liton 139 not out, Tasamul 67, Afif 31 not out; Shuvagata 2-82)