SZ secures draw to seal final, EZ dominate win to reach final

South Zone showed a never-say-die attitude to deny Walton Central Zone a victory in the last and final round of Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) and thereby sealed the final, report agencies.

In pursuit of an improbable 507-run target to win, South Zone batsmen showed a stubbornness to secure a draw as they ended the fourth and final day on 386-9 at Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium in Cox’s Bazar, ground-2 on Monday.

The draw helped them to occupy second spot in the point table with 19.89 points. They will take on Islami Bank East Zone in the final of BCL on February 22 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram. The final game will be a five-day match.

After resuming the day on 159-4, very few sensed that South Zone could escape with a draw but they did it with a gritty batting show.

Firstly Shamsur Rahman Shuvo came up with a huge resistance as he and Nasum Ahmed shared a 139-run partnership to frustrate the Central Zone. When Mehidy Hasan Miraz broke the partnership dismissing Shamsur for 133, Central Zone 

made quick inroads. But Nasum remained unfazed. 

He played 246 balls for his 85 to eat up important times of Central. Arafat Sunny though removed Nasum, it was Farhad Reza who with the ably support from No.11 batsman Shafiul Islam grinded it out for South Zone.

Farhad remained unbeaten on 27 after playing 91 balls while Shafiul played 26 balls for his 1 not out. Mehidy Hasan Miraz took 4-136 while Shuvagata Hom picked up 3-59.

Walton Central Zone scored 235 before being all out in first innings while South Zone declared their first innings for 114-4 in a strategic move to deny Central Zone important bowling bonus point. It seemed to be backfired when Nazmul Hossain Shanto scored an unbeaten 253 to help Central Zone declare the Second innings on 386-9 and set an improbable 507-run target for South Zone to win the game.

But South Zone at the end showed a gritty performance to secure a draw and denied Central Zone sealing the final. Central Zone ended the tournament finishing third with 11.points.

On the the other match, Yasir Ali hit a twin century before off-spinner Nayeem Hasan claimed a match haul of 13 wickets as Islami Bank East Zone thrashed North Zone by eight wickets in the last and final round of Bangladesh Cricket League (BCL) at Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium in Cox’s Bazar, on Monday.

The victory, their second in three matches in the tournament, propelled them to the final as they topped the group with 23.47 points. They will take on South Zone in the final on February 22 at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. The final game will be a five-day affair.

Resuming the fourth and final day on 145-5, North Zone was bowled out for 269, adding 124 runs to their overnight total.

North Zone’s ambition to score big was shattered when Mushfiqur Rahim couldn’t make his start count as he was dismissed on 38. Mahidul Islam Ankan was the top-scorer for the side in this innings with 44 while Sanjit Saha contributed 36 not out.

Nayeem Hasan who took 8-107 in the first innings snapped up 5-101 in this innings to complete 13-wicket haul.

As North Zone was shot out for 269, it gave East Zone a target of 211 to win the game and they did it with utmost sincerity, thanks to a brilliant 88 ball-110 from Yasir Ali.

The batsman who recently had made the cut in the national team for the first time for Bangladesh’s one-off Test against Zimbabwe scored 165 in the first innings.

His back-to-back century however enabled East Zone to overhaul the target in just 34.5 overs. In his rapid knock, Yasir struck eight fours and five sixes. He was ably supported by Mohammad Ashraful who made an unbeaten 70 off 86.

North Zone scored 272 in its first innings before being all out but East Zone took the command after making 331 in its first innings. North Zone however was in a position to make up the first innings deficit but a spirited East Zone side dashed their hope to make it the final.