The honour was not a surprise but it was an honour that all Bangladeshi cricket fans will be proud to call their own. At the end of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s rousing Indian Premier League (IPL) final victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore yesterday, Mustafizur Rahman was adjudged the Emerging Player of IPL 2016 -- an accolade that perfectly capped off the season for the young pace sensation from Tetulia. He becomes the first foreign player to win the trophy, which was called variously ‘Young Player of the Tournament’, ‘Rising Star’ and ‘U-23 Success of the Tournament’ throughout the tournament’s nine-year history.
Mustafizur, along with seam partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar, formed the one-two punch of Hyderabad’s bowling attack, drying up runs when they were at their most valuable -- from overs 16 to 20. Mustafizur is the owner of the best economy rate in that period this season. He also has the best economy rate overall for bowlers who have bowled more than 20 overs.
It was just not the economy rate, he also took 17 wickets, the fifth-highest of the season. His 17th wicket, that of Shane Watson in the final at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore in the late stages of the Bangalore’s innings, was one of the final nails in the Bangalore coffin.
Although the final saw him concede 37 runs for the wicket of Watson -- his second-most expensive bowling analysis of the season -- it will not take the gloss off a season which saw the man with the mysterious slower cutters emerge as arguably the most sought-after rookie player in the world.
He has played a crucial hand in most of Hyderabad’s important wins, including in the final when -- apart from his wicket -- he briefly stopped the carnage of Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle by conceding just four runs in the fifth over.