Table-toppers Khulna Division were on the verge of defending their National Cricket League title as they took the first-innings lead over potential contenders Dhaka Division and were in a commanding position after the third day of the sixth and final round at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna yesterday.
Even a draw would be enough for Khulna, who are at the top of the four-team Tier-1 table with 29.96 points -- to clinch their seventh title. Dhaka, meanwhile, are in second place with 24.1 points and need a victory to seal the championship.
Resuming the third day on 252 for three, Khulna rode on an unbeaten century from skipper Nurul Hasan before being all out for 379, which amounted to a 100-run first-innings lead.
Nurul and Tushar Imran resumed on fifties, but the latter departed on 82, adding seven runs to his overnight score. Nurul went on to register his eighth first-class hundred and remained unbeaten on 150 off 227 balls, which included 13 fours and seven sixes.
Off-spinner Shuvagata Hom picked up his seventh five-wicket haul while left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam took two wickets for Dhaka.
In reply, Dhaka were in a spot of bother and ended the day on 102 for five and will resume the fourth and final day leading by just two runs with five wickets in hand. Khulna’s medium pacer Ziaur Rahman picked up three wickets while Moinul Islam and Nahidul Islam took a wicket each.
In the other Tier 1 game at the Shaheed Kamruzzaman Stadium in Rajshahi, Rangpur made a good comeback and were leading by 248 runs with four wickets in hand against the hosts.
Rangpur managed to take a 20-run first-innings lead after Rajshahi, resuming the day on 224 for five, lost their last five wickets for the addition of just 30 runs, with Rangpur medium pacer Ariful Haque bagging six wickets.
Rangpur, however, kept losing wickets at regular intervals in their reply with pacer Delwar Hossain’s four wickets doing the bulk of the damage. Tanbir Hayder remained not out on 72 off 145 balls as Rangpur reached stumps on 228 for six.
In Tier 2, Dhaka Metropolis rode on twin hundreds from Shamsur Rahman and skipper Marshall Ayub to take the first innings lead over Barishal before being bundle out for 466.
Resuming the day on 225 for two and trailing by 189, both overnight batsman Shamsur and Marshall reached their hundreds.
Shamsur was the first to depart after registering his 18th first-class ton, scoring 103 off 289 balls with five fours, bringing the 187-run third-wicket stand to an end. Marshall too departed after his 19th first-class hundred and his second consecutive century in the league, having scored 109 off 170 balls with 11 fours.
Al Amin was dismissed eight runs shy of his hundred as Dhaka eventually took the first-innings lead.
Barishal, in reply, lost three quick wickets and ended the day on 30 for three, trailing by 22 runs.
SCORES IN BRIEF
BARISHAL V DHAKA METRO
BARISHAL: First innings 414 and second innings 30 for 3 (Fazle 19 not out; Arafat 2-10)
DHAKA METRO: First innings 466 all out (Rakin 23, Shamsur 108, Marshall 109, Al-Amin 92, Zabid 62 not out, Arafat 31; Shohag 3-98, Fazle 2-26)
RANGPUR V RAJSHAHI
RANGPUR: First innings 274 and second innings 228 for 6 (Jahid 33, Tanbir 72 not out, Ariful 48; Delwar 4-73, Muktar 2-44)
RAJSHAHI: First innings 254 all out (Avishek 67, Junaid 37, Farhad 75, Sabbir 22; Ariful 6-41, Sajedul 2-59)
DHAKA V KHULNA
DHAKA: First innings 279 and second innings 102 for 5 (Raqibul 39 not out, Shuvagata 42; Ziaur 3-23)
KHULNA: First innings 379 all out (Robiul 45, Anamul 50, Tushar 82, Nurul 150 not out; Shuvagata 5-46, Nazmul 2-114)