Key takeaways from the final round of NCL 2021-22
Dhaka Division lifted the NCL tier-1 trophy after seven years when they beat the other domestic powerhouse Khulna Division by 179 runs in the final round. Dhaka has now won six NCL titles, level with Rajshahi Division, while Khulna is on top of the list with seven trophies.
Chattogram Division bagged the only promotion spot from tier-2 after their drawn game against Dhaka Metropolis, taking their tally up to 31.60 points.
Barishal Division captain Fazle Mahmud finished as the tournament’s top-scorer, with 603 runs at an average of 60.30. His 188 and unbeaten 71 in the drawn game against Rajshahi Division took him to the top of the run-getters’ list ahead of Sylhet’s young gun Amite Hasan. Mahmud struck 17 fours and a six during his 356-ball effort in the first innings.
Amite made a career-best 186 against Rangpur, taking his tally to 590 runs at an average of 59.00, with two centuries and two fifties. He struck 19 fours during his near nine-hour marathon in the final round.
Rangpur’s Myshukur made 157 off 316 balls with 14 fours against Sylhet. Zakir replied with 122 off 248 balls with 14 fours against Rangpur.
Farhad struck ten fours and six sixes during his 111-ball 99 against Barishal while young Dipu, part of Bangladesh’s Under-19 World Cup-winning side, struck a career-best 159 off 306 balls against Dhaka Metro.
Chattogram’s promotion had a lot to do with left-arm spinner Hasan Murad and offspinner Nayeem Hasan. The pair took 33 and 32 wickets respectively to lead the NCL’s bowling charts. Left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam’s 32 wickets helped Dhaka to the tier-1 title.
Dhaka’s Taibur Rahman took 5 for 40 in the same game, while left-arm quick Ruyel Mia took 5 for 120 for Barishal against Rajshahi.
The Dhaka-Khulna encounter was the only one that yielded an outright result in the final round. Batting first, Dhaka made 335 before bowling out Khulna for 213. Dhaka declared on 256 for 8 in the second innings, leaving Khulna with a mountain to climb on the final day. Khulna managed to bat out 89.1 overs on the final day, but were eventually bowled out for 199 runs.
Points to ponder
Dhaka’s 179-run win over Khulna helped them leapfrog Rangpur who were leading the tier-1 points table for the last few rounds of the competition. But their drawn game against Sylhet cost them dearly.
Chattogram got their promotion after their drawn game against Rajshahi. If Barishal had beaten Rajshahi, they, too, would have got close to promotion. Seven-time champion Khulna, however, are now demoted to tier-2 next season.
The selectors might want to consider the likes of Mahmud and Mazid for at least the Bangladesh A sides after their healthy returns in the NCL. Amite and Murad could also be on the radar of the selectors.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84