Bangladesh’s franchise league in shortest format titled Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) drew its curtain off of its ninth edition with Cumilla Victorians holding the championship trophy for the 4th time. Starting with sheer sort of criticism, this edition of the T20 franchise tournament overcame a lot of hoodoos, but still begged for more of a mixed bag feeling. The final dance of Bangladesh’s charismatic legend Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Shakib Al Hasan’s scintillating form was the highlights. But the dry performance of some young talents from the national T20 squad and technical irregularities have provided a lot of food for thoughts as well.
Cumilla Victorians, the most consistent team
The final match between Cumilla Victorians led by Imrul Kayes and Sylhet Strikers led by Mashrafe Bin Mortaza took place yesterday, where Team Cumilla held the trophy with a 7-wicket victory. The phrase that is largely used in football can be quoted here as well to name Cumilla Victorians with their exact worth, and that is “one-team league.”
However, in the inconsistent realm of BPL, the franchise of Cumilla led by a passionate ex-BCB president Mustafa Kamal and her wife Nafisa Kamal is the biggest flag-bearer of consistency. They have a solid management based on local talent under the stewardship of Mohammad Salahuddin. Their strategy of balancing out local and international talents have also gave fruition in the long run.
Shining of ‘injured’ stars
BPL has been a worthy platform through all its sessions to prove the young stars’ ability, and the young stars are using it continuously, too. A known face in the Bangladesh Cricket territory, Najmul Hossain Shanto, who was criticised and mocked severely by the fans for not having a good career compared to expectations so far in international cricket, showed what he could do and what his ability to serve was. With the feat of touching the 500-run mark, which happened for the first time in the history of a Bangladeshi player in the BPL, Shanto managed to be named the player of the series. On social media, the hatred and mockery he was used to are now turning into love emojis as he receives numerous compliments for his performances on the field.
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Towhid Hridoy, another teammate of Shanto representing the Sylhet Strikers, also proved himself to the fans on and off the field. Despite being chastised for not having a good BPL last year with useful strike rates and arguably not being able to take pressure from matches in the final stages, he became the player to be pinned at the top of the gains in this session. Managing 140+ strike rates, Hridoy scored 403 runs in his name to get enlisted in top three batters with highest run of the session, and got rewarded just after the final by receiving a most-awaited call-up in the national team for the upcoming England series. Another performer, Rony Talukdar, who played for Rangpur Riders, became the second highest run getter of the session, but he was also unable to get the spotlight he was worthy of.
In his initial days, he was compared with Litton Das to have eyes of attention for future staring of Bangladesh team, as he was well known in the domestic cricket for having consistencies regularly. But in the middle, he lost his genre and tried to find himself once again. And this BPL became that platform for him to prove what he is capable of actually.
From dugout to star, then villain again!
Rubel Hossain, a name synonymous with disappointment among Bangladesh cricket fans for failing to make his mark in the national team in the middle of young stars shining on this circuit. He played his last international game years ago and even became benched while representing the Sylhet Strikers in BPL’23. After getting a chance, Rubel showed his calibre and took 4 wickets in his first match. He shone in every match he played, but it was a disappointment for him, his team, and the fans that he wasn’t able to deliver the performance in the final he had hoped for. In his first three overs, he only gave away 16 runs. However, when he bowled the final over, he gave alone 23 runs, forcing Sylhet out of the match.
Bowler who gave a trembling heart to batters
Tanvir Islam, a regular BPL performer, once again did his job as expected by the troupe. Leading the best wicket takers board, he took 17 wickets with a strike rate of 15.18 for the Cumilla Victorians, the victorians of BPL’23.
Played for rangpur Riders, a regular face of Bangladesh National Cricket team Hasan Mahmud became the second most highest takers with a similar 17 wicket, but having slightly higher strike rate of 18.65 than tanvir.
Two veterans stand taller!
Captain fantastic Mashrafe Mortaza led the Sylhet Strikers in this edition of the BPL so well that the team lost only two matches before the final and fought diligently in the final too. He himself took 12 wickets with a decent strike rate of 18.25 and batted well when the team needed him the most on the pitch.
On the other hand, Nasir Hossain, arguably one of the best performers of this edition of BPL knocked at the door of selectors for his return in the national team by scoring 366 runs with 45.45 average in his name. He took 16 wickets too, becoming the third highest wicket-taker of the session; his strike rate can give you a trembling of the heart, as it was only 12.28.
Then there’s Sakib Al Hasan, the world’s best all-rounder, who proved why he’s the best yet again on the field. He scored 375 with a strike rate of 174.42 and took 10 wickets as well to be the frontline warrior for his team.
Come and go for foreign players!
For PSL, ILT20, and SA T20 at a time, many foreign players couldn’t even participate in this edition of BPL despite having contracts with the teams; many couldn’t give their names in the draft; and many had to come and go in the middle of the league. The Pakistani players who shined in the league best were forced to go back to their country in the first week of February because of the PSL schedule and their board’s call-up. Again, players like Moeen Ali, Sunil Narine, and Andre Russell came only to play the rest of the matches from the playoffs due to their tight schedules.
Shanto’s form, Towhid Hridoy, Zakir Hasan, Rony Talukdar’s eye-catching batting, Mushfiqur’s becoming “Mr. Dependable” once again, Litton and Afif’s consistency, Sakib Al Hasan’s overall king-like playing, Nasir Hossain’s finding himself once again, etc. are things this BPL rewarded for the cricket circuit of Bangladesh.
Tanvir Hossain, Hasan Mahmud, Rubel Hossain, Mukidul Islam Mugdho, Nihaduzzaman, Arafat Sunny, and Bangladesh cricket team speedster Taskin Ahmed are some names to be proud of in the bowling department. Overall, this BPL edition became a worthy platform for the young stars as well as the veterans to prove themselves in the field once again.