Dhaka Premier League (DPL) is one of the most recognised domestic tournaments in Bangladesh. After Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), it is the biggest platform for national cricketers to come up and showcase their talent and thus attract the attention of selectors.
DPL's 2019-20 season was postponed due to Covid-19 and rescheduled to this year. However, the format was changed to T20 from List A due to a shortage of time considering the busy international schedule of the Tigers ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup. Abahani Limited Dhaka has been crowned champion of this edition, which happens to be their 21st championship and also their hat-trick of DPL titles for the fourth time.
Amidst these tough times, the initiative of the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM) to host such a long tournament deserves applause and it corresponds to the patience of the cricketers who have stayed inside the bio bubble and maintained protocols for over a month. From the start of the competition, all the matches were either streamed/broadcasted on Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB)’s official Facebook page or YouTube channel as well as TV during the Super League stage. This broadcasting/live streaming measure was certainly worth appreciating because all these years the audience had access to the scorecards only, meaning they couldn’t watch the live-action.
This year’s DPL offered the national cricketers a good preparation for the upcoming series and also the T20 World Cup. In addition, a lot of young and unknown players have come in contention for the national team with their individual performances, increasing the squad depth. Some of the performers, like Munim Shahriar (who scored 355 runs at an average of 29.58) and Mizanur Rahman (who scored 418 runs at an average of 52.25) became familiar with fans through this DPL tournament.
This tournament has also come as a blessing for the players like Nurul Hasan Sohan, whose call to the national team had been at a halt for years. Nevertheless, a breathtaking display of batting and some match-winning knocks aided Sohan’s cause to reclaim his spot, that too in all three formats. He was adjudged man of the tournament for scoring 389 runs at an average of 35.36, ranking him third in the top run-scorers list.
Players like Anisul Islam Emon, Mizanur Rahman and a few others outperformed the ‘Fab Four’ in a stunning manner, demonstrating the dominance of young uncapped cricketers. It’s worth mentioning that the competition’s only hat-trick was made by a relatively rookie cricketer named Alauddin Babu, and the two centuries were scored by no national superstars but aspiring batsmen Md Hasanuzzaman (105) and Mizanur Rahman (100*). Added to it, Mizan was the first centurion of this competition and ended up being the highest run-scorer, playing fewer matches than other batsmen on the top scorers’ list.
Bangladesh lacks quality power hitters, affecting the team’s performance -- mainly in the T20 format. However, this time we saw fearless hitting from some of the batsmen. Shamim, Munim, Hasan, Mahedi, Sohan batted at a strike rate of 146.38, 143.14, 151.20, 143.72, and 149.61 respectively. The top wicket-takers’ chart also came as a surprise, as it is not very natural to see pace bowlers dominating the list, especially in slow and sluggish Dhaka wickets. The only spinner who stood out among the pacers grabbing 20+ wickets was Tanvir Islam who managed to pick up 20 scalps, ensuring his rank among the top five.
The DPL indeed provided the young players with an amazing opportunity to share the dressing room with some of the greats like Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad and thus learn from them. Our U19 superstars also got a good platform to show their calibre, where Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Shamim Patwary, Shoriful Islam dominated their respective departments. Both Joy and Shoriful ended up being the top run-scorer (392 runs in total on an average of 43.55) and the highest wicket-taker (22 wickets at an economy rate of 7.13) for their team respectively.
Shamim, on the other hand, pleased the selectors with his power hitting performance and quick runs for his team at vital points and was summoned into the national squad, for the Zimbabwe tour this month. Apart from the persisting issues with domestic cricket and all the controversies that happened in this year’s edition, there has been a visible progress that is positive for the country’s cricket.