It had almost become a trend in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) that an overseas player would step up in big games and emerge as the match-winner for a franchise. The pattern was busted yesterday when Comilla Victorians opener Tamim Iqbal showcased the length and breadth of his talent by bludgeoning his maiden BPL hundred in the biggest game of all to help clinch his franchise's second title after a 17-run win over Dhaka Dynamites yesterday.
The dashing left-hander single-handedly hounded the Dhaka bowlers and smashed an unbeaten 141 off just 61 deliveries in Comilla's 199 for three. But more than the 11 sixes and 10 fours, or the success in his maiden BPL final, Tamim later said that his biggest achievement was carrying the flag for local players on the big stage.
“The best thing in todays'[Friday's] innings was... if you have noticed, it was always overseas cricketers performing well in big matches like the semifinals, finals and winning the game for the franchise. Today it was a Bangladeshi and this is the biggest achievement for me, that a Bangladeshi changed the whole game.
“There is nothing bigger than this for me and it doesn't matter how many runs I have scored, but I hope all the others and the juniors who play with me will take this as a challenge and a sign that we don't need to wait for them [foreigners] and that we can do it too,” said a satisfied Tamim, who rated the knock as his best T20 innings.
When asked about his knock after the match, Tamim said that it all still seemed like a dream.
“To be honest I am still in a dream state and I still don't know how I did it. I will go back to the room and watch the highlights and then I can asses it. There was a time when I got very pissed off when Anamul [Haque] was out, so I had to calm myself down and start again,” he said.
“BPL was very personal and I always wanted to win a cup so the monkey has gotten off my back. A hundred... obviously if you have seen, I was dismissed on 70s and 80s but I couldn't score a hundred, so it does not get better than getting a hundred in the final. Nice to score a hundred and it taught me about how I can take this into international cricket,” Tamim said.
'CREDIT TO MR. MORTAZA'
Bangladesh ODI captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was not involved yesterday, but Tamim still gave him credit for shaping his positive attitude before the final.
"I have to give credit to Mr. Mortaza. He always says in such situations that 'we will win'. Even though I was very nervous before the match, I kept saying that we would win and tried to be a positive force in the team -- they didn't have to know what I was feeling inside."
SCORES IN BRIEF
COMILLA VICTORIANS v DHAKA DYNAMITES
COMILLA: 199 for 3 in 20 overs (Tamim 141, Anamul 24, Imrul 17 not out; Shakib 1-45, Rubel 1-48)
DHAKA: 182 for 9 in 20 overs (Talukdar 66, Tharanga 48, Nurul 18; Wahab 3-28, Perera 2-25)
Result: Comilla won by 17 runs.
Player-of-the-match: Tamim Iqbal
Player-of-the-series: Shakib Al Hasan