Dhaka Premier League – Shakib Al Hasan and Sabbir Rahman incidents overshadow on-field action
Prime Bank, Prime Doleshwar and Abahani Limited well placed as teams head into Super League
The first phase of the Dhaka Premier League T20 is over, and the teams now head into the Super League and relegation playoffs. Here’s a look at the highs and lows of the last few days.
Prime Bank Cricket Club finished on top of the table at the end of the first stage of 11 games. They will head into the Super League – featuring the top six, who will carry their points forward – with 18 points, two ahead of Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club and Abahani Limited.
Mohammedan Sporting Club, Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club and Gazi Group Cricketers are also in the Super League, but they have a lot of catching-up to do against the top three in the table. They are on 14, 13 and 13 points respectively.
The big surprise is that the big-spending Legends of Rupganj have been fighting to stave off relegation after finishing with seven points from 11 matches. They will play Old DOHS Sports Club and Partex Sporting Club in the playoffs, where the bottom two will be relegated to the Dhaka First Division Cricket League.
Brothers Union captain Mizanur Rahman finished the first phase as the top run-getter. His 418 runs came at an average of 52.25 and a strike rate of 133.97. Rahman struck the only century of this phase too, apart from three fifties, as he came into his own in the last four innings, making 202 runs at a strike rate of 140.27.
While Najmul Hossain Shanto and Anamul Haque improved their numbers from the previous week, Nasir Hossain continued his poor form, with an average of 13 in nine innings. He also didn’t do too well with the ball.
Among the bowlers, Sohrawordi Shuvo took just one wicket at an average of 159.00 in eight innings, while Sohag Gazi took two wickets in nine innings. What would have also disappointed many was Rishad Hossain taking just four wickets in eight innings.
On the national radar
Rahman scored heavily to help his side Brothers Union secure a mid-table position. He got off to quick starts, and managed to bat long, hitting three fifties. Two of those were match-winning efforts of 79* and 74, the runs coming at a strike rate of 140-plus on both occasions.
Rabbi’s 20 wickets, meanwhile, underlined his worth as a death bowler. Prime Doleshwar used his four overs late in the innings, and he was useful with the bat lower down the order too.
Shakib Al Hasan’s poor behaviour – twice over – and Sabbir Rahman racially abusing Elias Sunny have painted a pretty poor picture of cricket in Bangladesh.
The incidents also took the focus away from the actual cricket being played. That said, most matches so far have been one-sided, which isn’t ideal for a T20 tournament; only two batters have hit 15 sixes in the 11 rounds.
Going forward, Prime Bank will miss Iqbal, who is nursing a knee injury. Mohammedan Sporting will also be without Shakib, who has finished serving his suspension but is reportedly leaving for the USA for a break, before Bangladesh’s tour of Zimbabwe.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84