The last hour of the final day in round one of the Bangladesh Cricket League surged with excitement and intensity as the game between Prime Bank South Zone and Islami Bank East Zone at the BKSP-4 ground in Savar yesterday was heading towards the draw.
Veteran left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak started the game ten wickets shy of five hundred first-class wickets, a milestone that no other Bangladesh cricketer has reached, but remained one wicket short by the end of the match.
The 35-year-old will now have to wait till the next round, which begins on January 15, to achieve the feat. East Zone batsmen Liton Das (51*) and Alok Kapali (3) watchfully completed the final day on 93 for 4 to end the game in a draw.
Opener Imtiaz Hossain (5) was removed by pacer Kamrul Islam after East Zone came to bat in their second innings where the experienced Razzak, who perhaps had the milestone in mind, later dismissed the double centurion of the first innings Mominul Haque cheaply on 13.
Razzak then picked up the wicket of Yasir Ali (19) and removed Mohammad Ashraful on a golden duck off consecutive deliveries. Similarly to Razzak, teammate and veteran batsman Tushar Imran ultimately fell 35 runs short of his own achievement, ten thousand runs in first-class cricket, after striking his 25th ton.
Earlier, South Zone were bundled out on 395 after resuming their innings on 318 for 5. Nurul Hasan departed on 47 following a 83-run sixth-wicket partnership with Al Amin. None of the other batsmen were able to support Al Amin though as the right-hand batsman remained unbeaten on 49 at the other end.
East Zone's off-spinner Sohag Gazi picked up three wickets on the previous day and went on to bag another two to complete his 17th five wicket haul in first class cricket for just 86 runs.
At the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, after laying the platform for victory on third day defending champions North Zone went on to register a comprehensive nine wicket win over Walton Central Zone.
Central Zone, who were 35 runs away from avoiding an innings defeat when they resumed the final day on 234 for 7, were eventually all out on 336. Skipper Mosharraf Hossain tried to fight back though, scoring 61 runs after Raqibul Hasan struck a century.
Left-arm spinner Sohrawardy Shuvo took four scalps while Ariful Haque, who picked up four in the first innings, once again grabbed three in the second innings.
North Zone ambled to the target of 68 in 12.1 overs for the loss of only the wicket of Mizanur Rahman (25) while Nazmul Hossain remained unbeaten on 31.