DPL's first-round sparklers
The ongoing Dhaka Premier League (DPL) has reached its business end -- the Super League stage set to begin in a few days' time with the fixtures yet to be announced -- as the top six teams are set to to battle it out for ultimate glory. After over a month's cricketing action, here we look at some of the standout performers and impactful players who entertained throughout the tournament.
Raqibul Hasan's only century -- a 104-ball 102 -- in this edition came when Mohammedan Sporting Club needed it most. A resilient Raqibul scripted a 146-run sixth-wicket stand with Rajat Bhatia after Mohammedan were reeling on 88 for five in the 23rd over against Prime Bank Cricket Club in a game Mohammedan had to win to keep their Super League hopes alive. Mohammedan went on to win the game comprehensively by 133 runs via DLS method. The Old Dhaka outfit had an impressive start to their DPL campaign, winning three matches on the trot and much credit for such a start could be given to Raqibul for his back-to-back unbeaten knocks in the first two games. Rqibul's 545 runs at an average of 60.55 runs sees him at the top of the run-getters' list and he remains one of the most impactful batsmen of the tournament so far.
Although Khelaghar could not make it to the top six in the tournament, one player in particular shone in this season's DPL. Robiul Haque's five for 41 against Gazi Group could not win the match as they ended up losing the game by three wickets but he had surely ignited some hope by scalping five of the Gazi Group's top-order batsmen while defending a low 138-run total. Robiul's 22 wickets from 11 games sees him second on the wicket-takers' list, and deserves special praise as it was for a team that won just three games in the tournament.
Mohammedan's Shohag Gazi has proved his worth both with bat and ball this season. Gazi's 14-ball 33, followed by his economical figures of four for 21 against Prime Bank, helped Mohammedan register a 133-run victory -- their largest win in terms of runs this season. Gazi's 22-ball 45 against Shinepukur, 25-ball 43 against Mohammedan and 24-ball 32 against Sheikh Jamal are a few instances of impact with the bat, although not all performances led to wins for Mohammedan. Gazi's 16 wickets in 11 matches alongside 312 runs could give a glimpse to his impact as an all-rounder for Mohammedan.
Jahurul Islam could be credited, or blamed, for making potentially the most exciting fixture of the DPL -- Abahani Limited against Mohammedan -- one-sided. Jahurul's 131-ball 96 set the tone for Abahani to win comfortably by six wickets with 15 balls to spare. The star-studded Abahani had many potential game changers in their ranks but the experienced Jahurul emerged as one of the top performers for the Sky Blues. He ended up as the second-highest scorer, scoring 531 runs with two centuries and two fifties.
Known for his ability to score quick runs at the death, all-rounder Forhad Reza proved pivotal for Prime Doleshwar more for his medium pace. Forhad remains atop the wicket-takers' list with 27 from 11 matches. Forhad only remained wicketless in one game, against BKSP in Fatullah, so far. While Forhad's best figures in the tournament is the five for 40 against Gazi Group, he scalped four wickets twice and was conceding runs at just 4.73 runs per over.
Although Delwar Hossain of Shinepukur Cricket Club has scalped 19 wickets in 10 matches -- one less than his third-placed Hasan Murad of BKSP -- but the right-hander played one game fewer and also has been impactful with the bat. His best figures of five for 46 was followed by a crucial 34 in a two-wicket victory against Mohammedan. His two unbeaten 40s against Gazi Group and Doleshwar however were not in winning causes.
Prime Bank skipper Anamul Haque achieved the feat of scoring three consecutive centuries -- last matched by Mohammad Ashraful in the previous edition -- when the right-hander scored 102 against Abahani in Fatullah. His three centuries and 511 runs so far in the tournament earned him third place on the run charts.