When talk about how the foreign stars were outperforming the local batsmen in the sixth edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), it was Tamim Iqbal who pressed the issue and said that he would want to see the locals step up and make an impact.
Like he has done so often for the national team, he was the one to talk the talk and walk the walk, and it was some walk as the Comilla Victorians opener scored a resplendent maiden BPL hundred in his first BPL final, in the process becoming the only local player to strike a hundred this season. And it was not a run-of-the-mill T20 ton as his unbeaten innings accounted for 141 runs in a total of 199 for three against Dhaka Dynamites.
The likes of Alex Hales, AB de Villiers, Rilee Rossouw, Evin Lewis and Laurie Evans already set the benchmark by striking a century each in the BPL this season and it was the turn of the best Bangladesh batsman to showcase his talent.
The 29-year-old was initially cautious and a touch lucky as he survived a tough caught-behind opportunity off the bowling of Qazi Onik when he was on 24 and soon afterwards, off the bowling of Rubel Hossain, Andre Russell took a diving take at long on, which was shown on replays to have fallen just short.
But since then Tamim started to get into his groove and played the role of the aggressor during a 91-run second-wicket stand with Anamul Haque, reaching his fifty off 31 balls.
Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has often said that even the best bowlers in the world find it difficult to bowl to Tamim when he is on song and that he personally found him the toughest to bowl to. Yesterday, Tamim showed that Mashrafe was not alone in that respect among his Bangladesh teammates.
Talking about taking on the best bowlers, the way Tamim took on Shakib -- known as one of the most experienced and intelligent bowlers in the limited-overs format -- was remarkable.
It was Shakib who was caught in the line of fire as Tamim scored 30 runs from just 10 balls bowled by the left-arm spinner, which included three fours and two sixes.
Whether it was his flat-batted slap over deep midwicket against Shakib or his straight six over long on off Russell, or even a flicked six over deep midwicket against Rubel, Tamim was unstoppable.
He went on to strike two sixes and two fours against Rubel, plundering 23 runs, in the 14th over which was followed by a 22-run 17th over from Russell. Tamim reached 99 with a six over long on against Russell and followed it up with a pulled boundary off the next ball to reach his third T20 hundred off fifty balls.
The left hander did not stop even after reaching his hundred and continued to punish the Dhaka bowlers, remaining unbeaten on 141 off just 61 balls with eleven sixes and 10 fours. It was also the second-highest score in the BPL after Rangpur Riders opener Chris Gayle's 146 in last season's final against Dhaka.