Tuesday, 31 January, 2023

Several individual brilliances light up BPL

  • Samsul Arefin Khan
  • 22 January, 2023 12:00 AM
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Several individual brilliances light up BPL
Shakib Al Hasan, Wahab Riaz

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The ninth edition of Bangladesh Premier League has already reached its halfway through and alongside team-wise performance, several individual brilliances have also been demonstrated in this year’s meet so far.

Pakistani recruits of most of the franchises have ruled the rooster so far in the tournament but several Bangladeshi cricketers – both current and former – have also been able to showcase their class on the field which played pivotal roles in their respective team’s success till the date.

So far, this year’s BPL witnessed three hundreds and all of them came from Pakistan cricketers – Khulna Tigers’ Azam Khan, Chattogram Challengers’ Usman Khan and the latest one was scored by Iftikhar Ahmed of Fortune Barishal.

These cricketers are also in the top 10 run-getters list with Iftikhar being at the number three position with 256 runs from six matches at an astonishing strike rate and average of 181.56 and 128 respectively.

The 32-year-old Pakistani middle-order batsman also struck the highest 18 sixes in the tournament so far and played some brilliant knocks in crucial times that helped Barishal maintain a five-match winning streak in the ongoing meet.

However, ace Bangladesh all-rounder and Iftikhar’s teammate at the Barishal camp Shakib Al Hasan is currently leading the top run-getters’ list with 275 runs in five innings.

The 35-year-old has produced a totally different sublime batting performance in this year’s tournament and he already has struck three fifties and also scored these runs at a jaw-dropping strike rate of 196.43 - the highest by any batter in the tournament so far - and it was also much higher than his overall T20 strike-rate (124.14).

Shakib has even created a world record feat when he shared an unbeaten 192-run stand with Iftikhar against Rangpur Riders which is the highest fifth-wicket stand in overall T20 history. 

However, the rise of Nasir Hossain from the ashes in this year’s meet is surely one of the highlights in the tournament so far as the Dhaka Dominators skipper has scored 269 runs – second in the batting chart - and also took seven wickets in just six matches.

It was quite a statement by the former national cricketer who often found himself struggling with off-the-field issues and also failed to get a team in last year’s BPL.

Perhaps only the Dhaka team's performance can make Nasir discontent as they could earn only one win in six games so far.

A finger injury ruled Sylhet Strikers batsman Towhid Hridoy out of the Chattogram phase but the youngster has already been enlisted in the good book of the selectors by his Dhaka phase performance where he struck 195 runs with three successive fifties.

However, the 22-year-old batter expressed his confidence in returning to the side soon.

“I’ve been feeling really well. My stitches have been removed. Hopefully, I will be able to come back soon,” Hridoy said on Saturday.

Sylhet, which are currently leading the points table with 10 points from six matches (Barishal also have the same), are also confident of their in-form batsman’s return to the side quickly.

“Today (Saturday) he came and batted for a while. He is progressing well. We cannot say whether he is available from the first game (in Dhaka or not) as the physio will see him and make a call. He will be examined tomorrow and on the match day and later we can make a call on his availability,” Sylhet manager Nafees Iqbal said.

Apart from these batters, Najmul Hossain Shanto (192), Afif Hossain (191) and Liton Das (160) also have made their marks in the tournament so far.

In the bowling department, Pakistani pacer Wahab Riaz has already provided two match-winning four-wicket hauls for Khulna and helped their side break a three-match losing streak in the tournament.

The left-arm pacer is currently the top wicket-taker in the tournament with 11 wickets from five matches while his compatriots and Sylhet franchise bowlers Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir are also in the top five bowlers’ list after they took seven wickets each.

Surprisingly, another former national cricketer Mashrafe bin Mortaza is in the second position with nine wickets in six matches for Sylhet which only proved that age is just a number.

Comilla Victorians, which started with three defeats but now have won three matches in a row, will definitely thank left-arm spinner Tanvir Islam, who claimed eight wickets in four matches that were played in Chattogram.

Apart from these bowlers, Hasan Mahmud, Robiul Haque and Taskin Ahmed have also delivered for their respective sides in the first half of the tournament.