As East Zone's Yasir Ali put the North Zone bowlers to the sword in chase of an improbable target, wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim could not resist trying himself as a bowler. Off-spinner Mushfiqur however bowled three overs without any success. It was only the third instance in his career that the former Bangladesh skipper bowled in first-class competition.
Yasir Ali celebrated his Test call-up with a blitzed hundred yesterday at Cox's Bazar as East Zone overcame a tough target in one session on the fourth day against North Zone to reach the final of the Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL). The final day saw exciting finishes as South Zone managed a nail-biting draw against Central Zone in the other match. The final between East Zone and South Zone will take place at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram from February 22.
North Zone were bowled out for 269 runs just before the tea break in their second innings after resuming the day on 145 for five, to set a stiff 211-run target for East Zone. Spinner Nayeem Hasan claimed five wickets.
East Zone reached the target in just 34.5 overs thanks to Yasir, who followed up his 165, in the first innings with an 88-ball 110, laced with eight fours and five sixes. He starred in a 170-run second-wicket stand with Mohammad Ashraful, who remained unbeaten on an 86-ball 70. Yasir's departure did not hinder East Zone as Imrul Kayes (17 off 16) and Ashraful saw them off to victory by eight wickets.
In the other match, South Zone required another 348 for victory with six wickets remaining against North after resuming the day on 159 for four.
Shamsur Rahman and Nasum Ahmed paired up in a fantastic 139-run fifth-wicket partnership with Shamsur hitting 133 off 230 balls. Off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz brought crucial breakthroughs for North, scalping four wickets in the second innings.
With an hour left to go, South were 356 for seven before Nasum, who occupied the crease for 342 minutes, was removed by Arafat Sunny for 83 and Abdur Razzak departed to Suvagata Hom two overs later to leave them with just one wicket in hand. Forhad Reza and Shafiul Islam stood guard and managed to play out almost 10 overs during their last-wicket 14-run partnership to hand a draw to South Zone.
SCORES IN BRIEF
CENTRAL v SOUTH
Central Zone: First innings 235 and second innings 385 for 8 declared.
South Zone: First innings 114 for 4 declared and second innings 386 for 9 (Anamul 83, Fazle 25, Shamsur 133, Nasum 85, Farhad 27 not out; Mehedi 4-136, Shuvagata 3-59)
Result: Match drawn.
Player-of-the-match: Nasum Ahmed.
NORTH v EAST
North Zone: First innings 272 and second innings 269 all out (Junaid 36, Naeem 35, Mushfiqur 38, Mahidul 44, Sunzamul 24, Sanjit 36 not out; Nayeem 5-101, Saqlain 2-58)
East Zone: First innings 331 and second innings 211 for 2 (Ashraful 70 not out, Yasir 110; Sunzamul 1-61)
Result: East Zone won by 8 wickets.
Player-of-the-match: Yasir Ali.