The sixth edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) ended yesterday with Comilla winning the final against Dhaka by 17 runs at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. Like any other tournament, the month long domestic cricket festival saw some positives and negatives throughout.
All-rounder Mehedi Hasan Miraz got an unexpected surprise when the 21-year-old was made the youngest captain in the tournament's history by the Rajshahi Kings.
Although Miraz could only notch 123 runs in 12 matches, the young skipper took the initiative of promoting himself up the order -- opening the batting on a few occasions and also batting at number three at times. His only fifty (51 off 45 balls) came while batting at the number three position against the Khulna Titans. He also led Rajshahi to a fifth-place finish in the tournament.
The Chattogram leg of the tournament was the most entertaining one as it saw the highest (Rangpur Riders' 239 for four against Chittagong Vikings) and the second highest (Comilla's 237 for five against Khulna) totals in history of BPL being registered. It was not just a batman's paradise though, as two of the three hattricks in this edition-- Comilla pacer Wahab Riaz's against Khulna and Dhaka all-rounder Andre Russell's against Chittagong -- were registered in Chattogram.
With players like AB de Villiers, Steve Smith and David Warner featuring for the first time, this year's BPL was hyped up as it had more star power than the last five editions. The two Australians -- Smith and Warner -- were made captains for their respective franchises but unfortunately both had to leave the tournament early due to injury. Nevertheless, their inclusion alongside the likes of the returning Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard increased the lustre of the tournament.
The tournament had a very slow start and some of the blame could be attributed to the unpredictable Mirpur pitch, which saw a number of low scoring dull contests. In the opening match of the tournament, Chittagong struggled to chase the 98-run total posted by Rangpur. Mushfiqur Rahim's team only managed a three-wicket victory in a little preview of the Mirpur pitch. However, even more reasoning behind the claim of the pitch being unpredictable could be given by the next game which saw Rajshahi bundled out for just 106 in response to Dhaka's 189 for five in the first innings. Throughout the tournament there were plenty more such instances in Mirpur.
One of the most eye-catching and horrendous aspect of this edition's BPL was its abysmal quality of broadcast. There were instances of commentators pronouncing the names of players wrong and the most noticeable mistakes were the graphical errors. Comilla's Shohagh Gazi was once identified as Abu Hider Rony and there were numerous occasions where the required runs and balls remaining did not match the actual stats. Moreover, the tournament initially started without the technological facilities of Ultra Edge, Snickometer or Hot Spot -- which were brought in almost a week after the tournament commenced.
The only hundred by a local batsman in this edition of BPL was registered yesterday when Comilla opener Tamim Iqbal struck a magnificent unbeaten 61-ball 141-run to help his side post a mammoth 199 for three against Dhaka. But one local batsman proved to be the exception. Chittagong's Yasir Ali, who has not yet been capped by the national side, performed brilliantly with the bat. The 22-year old scored 307 runs across 11 games with three fifties and a high score of 78. However, the locals shone with the ball, with eight of the top ten wicket-takers being locals.