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BPL 2022: Comilla end first phase as table-toppers, Dhaka disappoint

Mashfiq Mizan | Thursday, 27 January 2022


Despite bagging big names like Faf du Plessis, Mustafizur Rahman and Sunil Narine before the tournament, uncapped Bangladeshi all-rounder Nahidul Islam emerged as the unexpected hero for Comilla Victorians as the side ended the Dhaka phase of BPL 2022 on a high as table toppers.

On the contrary, Minister group Dhaka, the team which was tagged as ‘favourites’ before the tournament for assembling three of the ‘Fantastic Fives,’ popularly known as ‘Poncho Pandobs,’ are struggling at the bottom of the points table with just one victory from four matches.

BPL 2022 points table at the completion of the first phase

Position

Teams

Match

Win

Loss

Points

NRR

1

Comilla Victorians

2

2

0

4

+1.820

2

Chattogram Challengers

3

2

1

4

+0.740

3

Fortune Barishal

3

1

2

2

+0.229

4

Khulna Tigers

2

1

1

2

-0.325

5

Sylhet Sunrisers

2

1

1

2

-0.573

6

Minister Dhaka

4

1

3

2

-1.217

Eight matches were held at the capital in the first phase, with each side playing at least two. Comilla is the only undefeated side at the tournament so far with two out of two wins.

Nahidul Islam, the local hero

Nahidul Islam claimed his second successive Player-of-the-Match performance as his extraordinary figures of 4-1-5-3  helped Comilla Victorians secure their second victory in as many matches, thumping Fortune Barishal by 63 runs on Tuesday.

While doing so, the off-spinner emulated Shahid Afridi in bowling the most economical spell in the BPL.

The Pakistani stalwart picked up 2 for 5 at the same venue in 2015.

Nahidul Islam was adjudged Player of the Match in Comilla’s first match against Sylhet Sunrisers after he followed his two wickets with 16 runs, helping his side to a two-wicket win in a low-scoring game.

Comilla are expected to grow only stronger as the tournament progresses because of the fact that they have names like Sunil Narine, Moeen Ali and Liton Das yet to join their ranks.

Dhaka disappoint the most

Although the events that unfolded before the tournament regarding the ownership of the Dhaka franchise were comical, all the negativities were washed away as the capital’s side assembled Tamim, Mahmudullah and Mashrafee, three of the fantastic fives of Bangladesh cricket.

But the experienced Dhaka set-up has been brought down to earth by comparatively younger sides with the capital’s team securing only one win out of four matches.

Their only win came against Barishal, whom they defeated by four wickets. Aside from that, Dhaka lost by 5 wickets against Khulna, 30 runs against Chattogram, 7 wickets against Sylhet. 

However, Sylhet Sunrisers’ victory over Dhaka was marred by controversy as the home side was on the receiving end of several poor umpiring calls while they were batting.

Mohammad Naim was given out despite getting a glove while attempting a reverse sweep, while Andre Russell was sent back despite getting an inside edge onto his front pad. 

Tamim Iqbal, too, seemed unsatisfied with his lbw decision; the ball appeared to have struck him even though he was well forward. The absence of DRS, hence, suddenly became a massive talking point.

Chattogram proving to be worthy challengers

Despite not acquiring big local or foreign recruits at the auction, cricket enthusiasts took notice of Chattogram Challengers for their emphasis on the youth and impressive social media appearance, both of which is quite uncommon in our cricketing culture.

Led from the front by Mehedy Hasan Miraz, they made a tremendous comeback after losing their first match of the season to Fortune Barishal by defeating Dhaka by 30 runs, then Khulna by 25 runs.

As seen in their last match against Khulna, Chattogram batters have the ability to smash bowlers out of the park right from the first bowl as they have two explosive openers, Will Jacks and Kennar Lewis under their ranks.

All-rounder Benny Howell has already proved himself as the MVP of the Chattogram side for perfectly executing the role assigned to him as a finisher with utmost ferocity.

He is the second-highest run-scorer of the tournament, scoring 112 runs from 3 matches, with an average of 56 and strike rate of 189.83.

Sabbir Rahman batting at number four has already shown a glimpse of his flair from the past and young stars like Afif and Shamim are hungry to prove a point in order to keep their place at the T20 national team.

Nasum Ahmed and captain Miraz have shined with the bowl, complimented brilliantly by pacers Shoriful Islam and  Rejaur Rahman Raja. If they manage to gel together further as a team, Chattogram will be a team to beat.

Other teams

Fortune Barishal, who started off the tournament as favourites with the inclusion of T20 mega stars Shakib Al Hasan and Chris Gayle are currently in the third position at the standings.

The Barishal team beat Chattogram as predicted in their first encounter of the season, but fell short against Dhaka and Comilla. They lost by four wickets to Dhaka and then by 63 runs against Comilla.

However, with the inclusion of Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman in the latter part of the tournament, Barishal is expected to turn things around and make it big in this edition of BPL.

Khulna Tigers have one win and a loss in two matches they played at the capital.

They began their season with a five-wicket victory against Dhaka but then lost by 25 runs to Chattogram in their next match. Khulna are presently in the fourth position in the standings.

Like Khulna, Sylhet Sunrisers competed in two matches in phase 1. They were defeated by Comilla by two wickets in a closely-contested match. However, Sylhet upset Dhaka by 7 wickets in the next match, securing fifth place in the points standings.

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