Rajshahi make it four in a row

April 29, 2012

Rajshahi continued their dominance in the first-class competition as they clinched their fourth consecutive National Cricket League title with a crushing nine-wicket victory over Khulna in the final with two days to spare on Saturday.
Opener Mizanur Rahman cracked an unbeaten 80 from 75 balls to guide Rajshahi to 129-1 after their bowlers had bundled out Khulna for a meagre 172 runs in the second innings to set up an 127-run target on a decent Sher-e-Bangla wicket.
Rajshahi captain Farhad Reza promoted himself up the order hoping for a quick kill after bowling out Khulna an hour before the lunch break, but could manage just 12.
However, Mizanur was at his sublime best hitting 14 fours and adding 83 runs with one-down Farhad Hossain, unbeaten on 32, as they reached the target midway into the second session.
Mizanur, who scored a century against Sylhet in the crucial last league match, struck Khulna skipper Tushar Imran for four consecutive boundaries to finish off their chase in 22 overs.
The over cost Khulna another boundary from a leg-bye before Mizanur launched his onslaught.
It was Rajshahi’s fourth consecutive NCL title and fifth overall that made them the most successful first-class side of Bangladesh. They were sharing the honour jointly with Dhaka, who had won four tiles in the past 12 seasons.
Rajshahi had been scenting victory in the five-day final after the second day’s play when they reduced Khulna to 135-5 in their second innings, having already taken a 46-run first innings lead.
Resuming the third day’s play, in-form Anamul Haque provided a brief resistance before the Rajshahi spinners, on the back of spirited fielding, took the last five wickets for only 47 runs.
Anamul remained unbeaten on 58 which took his tally to 816 runs in the season, the highest by any batsmen in the tournament. The accolade of tournament’s top run-getter, however, went to Dhaka Metro’s Asif Ahmed who made 801 runs as the runs of final were not taken into consideration for this award.
Rajshahi’s Forhad Hossain was named the man of the final for his all-round show that saw him take six wickets in two innings and score 109 runs in two innings.

-With New Age input

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