The scorecards in the Indian Premier League show that both Bangladeshis in the league, Shakib Al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman, are performing well but the former will have a smile much broader than his junior national colleague after both played telling hands in their most recent matches on Saturday.
Both players have new franchises this year, with Shakib making the move from Kolkata Knight Riders to Sunrisers Hyderabad, the team that Mustafizur used to play for before moving to defending champions Mumbai Indians. Their additions seem to have had wildly divergent results – Sunrisers have won all three of their matches and Shakib bowled economically and incisively in two of those matches, while Mumbai are dead last after losing all their three matches.
Shakib bowled beautifully to help restrict his former franchise Kolkata to 138 for eight. His figures of two for 21 are excellent in the T20 format, but it was the one-handed, diving return catch off Chris Lynn that he snaffled centimetres from the turf that will stick in the mind from a match that featured superb fielding from Hyderabad. He then hit a 21-ball 27 during the successful chase, completing an all-round effort that could have netted him the player-of-the match award that Billy Stanlake, who had an identical bowling analysis, ended up getting perhaps because of the fear he instilled in the opposition with his pace.
Mustafizur, meanwhile, had figures of one for 25 from four overs against Delhi Daredevils -- also excellent, especially in a match where both sides scored 190-plus. However, in contrast to Shakib and Hyderabad, perceptions of Mustafizur's performance took a deep dive as he, at a crucial juncture of Delhi's chase of 194, dropped Shreyas Iyer twice in the same over from Jasprit Bumrah. It was the second drop at short third man, when the ball had travelled straight to Mustafizur, that badly exposed the 21-year-old's still underdeveloped fielding skills.
However, his bowling in his first three overs was just another example of why he is such a hot commodity in the IPL -- conceding just 14 runs with Jason Roy going hammer and tongs. But Mustafizur became the face of an unexpected loss as Roy, needing 11 to win in the last over, hit the Fizz for a four and six in the first two balls. Mustafizur showed courage under fire with three dot balls but could not manage a fourth.