As expected Rajshahi secured maximum points in the first round of the Ispahani Mirzapore Tea 9th National Cricket League from the match against Sylhet while Barisal made a great start with an outright victory against Chittagong on the final day of the four-day games at different venues across the country yesterday.
At the Rajshahi Divisional Stadium, the hosts put an end to Sylhet's second innings resistance on the final day morning to taste a comfortable eight-wicket victory which ensured them to collect maximum 15 points from the first round, one point advantage over Barisal.
Barisal showed their mettle in the chase on the fourth day to beat Chittagong by five wickets at the Shaheed Chandu Stadium in Bogra.
Chittagong and Sylhet both gained only four bonus points each from this round.
Left-arm spinner Suhrawardy Shuvo picked up four wickets for 93 runs as Sylhet were bundled out for 258 in their second essay to set a meagre 99-run winning target for the last year's runners-up team.
Rajshahi reached the target by losing two wickets in 28 overs as Jahirul Islam made an unbeaten 39 off 66 balls with the help of four boundaries and a six and Naeem Islam was not out with 23 off 42 balls that saw four fours.
Sylhet started the day on 167-4 with an aim for a draw. But Shuvo gave the first breakthrough to snap the two overnight batsmen's resistance as national wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim added only five runs to his overnight score of 22 while new ball bowler Mohammad Shahjada sent skipper Rajin Saleh to wicketkeeper-captain Khaled Mashud quickly to dismiss any turnaround hopes of the visitors.
Resuming the day on 53, Rajin was dismissed for 68 runs off 186 balls that included 10 boundaries.
Shahjada claimed three wickets for 70 runs in 27 overs.
Barisal thrived on two half-centuries from Roquibul Hasan and Raisul Islam to chase down the Chittagong's respectable target on the fourth day to secure eight points for their outright victory.
Chasing a target of 220, Barisal lost skipper Shahriar Nafees for only two runs on the board but out-of-favour opener Hannan Sarker first repaired the damage during his 47-run second wicket stand with Imran Ahmed (19) and then accumulated 68 runs for the third wicket with Roquibul to give the foundation for the win.
Hannan, who hit three boundaries during his 125-ball innings, fell one run short of his fifty.
Roquibul however didn't miss it as he made 55 off 132 balls with the help of three boundaries while Raisul finished the job with an unbeaten 54 off 93 balls that featured six boundaries.
Saju Datta took three wickets for 61 runs.
Earlier, Chittagong were bowled out for 317 after resuming the day at 307-9.
SCORES IN BRIEF
CHITTAGONG: 176 all out and 317 all out.
BARISAL: 274 all out and 220-5 in 75.5 overs (Nafees 1, Hannan 49, Imran 19, Roquibul 55, Raisul 54 not out, Arafat 0, Nasiruddin Faruque 10 not out; Tareq 1-63, Ashiqur 1-37, Saju 3-61)
Result: Barisal won by five wickets.
SYLHET: 141 all out and 258 all out in 112.1 overs (Imtiaz 23, Rahman 15, Mabud 12, Rajin 68, Kapali 35, Rahim 27, Rezaul 18, Tapash 9, Enamul 1, Nazmul 14, Nabil 19 not out; Shahjada 3-70, Forhad 1-17, Delwar 1-35, Shuvo 4-93)
RAJSHAHI: 301 all out and 99-2 in 28 overs (Jahirul 39 not out, Zunaed 2, Forhad 27, Naeem 23 not out; Tapash 1-11, Enamul 1-23)
Result: Rajshahi won by eight wickets.