Joy, Rahim and fast bowlers shine after first six rounds of the Dhaka Premier League

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A summary of the first six rounds of games at the Dhaka Premier League T20s

How the table stands

Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club lost their top place in the Dhaka Premier League T20 following their three-run loss to Prime Bank Cricket Club on Thursday. Prime Bank and Abahani Limited are now on ten points each, followed by Doleshwar who are on nine points in third place.
Partex Sporting Club are the only team without a win after six rounds, while Shinepukur Cricket Club are just above them with two points. Click here for the full points table.

Top performers

It is of no surprise that Mushfiqur Rahim is among the top performers in the DPL, after his player-of-the-series winning exploits against Sri Lanka last month. Rahim has batted Abahani Limited into winning positions in nearly every one of their five wins.
But it is young Mahmudul Hasan Joy who leads the batters’ leaderboard with 241 runs. He has been dismissed twice in five innings and hit the most sixes. Joy’s strike rate of 136.15 is the highest among batters who have faced 100 balls till now.
Rahatul Ferdous of Brothers Union put together the best all-round showing in the tournament when he made 54 after his side was reduced to 57 for 6 against Partex. He followed it up with a four-wicket haul with his left-arm spin that decimated the opposition.
Left-arm quicks Mustafizur Rahman and Salauddin Sakil took the only five-wicket hauls in the tournament so far, while Alauddin Babu took the only hat-trick. Fast bowlers have generally done well in this competition, with five of them among the top ten wicket-takers so far.

Players with poor returns

Najmul Hossain Shanto, Anamul Haque and Nasir Hossain haven’t been among the runs despite playing in important positions for big clubs. Abahani’s Shanto, who was dropped from Bangladesh’s ODI side recently, has so far made 85 runs in five innings. Haque, who plays for Prime Bank, averages 15.50 with a top score of 35 runs in six outings. Hossain, playing for Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club, averages 15 with the bat and 80 with the ball, having struck just one six in his six innings.

Pace bowler Shohidul Islam, who was picked as Mohammad Saifuddin’s replacement in Bangladesh’s ODI squad against Sri Lanka last month, has been surprisingly expensive in his five games, conceding runs at 9.21 while having taken just four wickets. Islam’s Abahani team-mate Taijul Islam also hasn’t done too well, having taken just two wickets and conceded runs at seven per over in his four outings.

On the national radar

T20 skills are at a premium in Bangladesh, which is why Nurul Hasan‘s unbeaten 66 against Mohammedan Sporting Club won’t go unnoticed by the selectors. He struck five sixes and four boundaries in a 34-ball knock that help Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club to a 16-run win. Hasan isn’t usually regarded as a big-hitter but his wicketkeeping skills and middle-order ability could be tested in the build-up to Bangladesh’s T20 World Cup campaign.
Another who has staked a claim is Kamrul Islam Rabbi, an underrated death bowler. He is among the wickets in this competition, as he had been in the Bangabandhu T20s last year, and during the BPL the past couple of years. Rabbi also hit a 12-ball 38, including four sixes off Rubel Hossain in a last over in which they needed 31 to win. He couldn’t help Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club to the win, but very few lower-order batters in Bangladesh have shown this proclivity towards hitting sixes in the death overs.

Talking points

BCB’s monetary and logistical effort to ensure a bio-bubble environment for 12 DPL clubs and match officials is commendable. Never before have the Dhaka league players seen such opulence in their accommodation, but the cricket on the field hasn’t quite matched the budget. There have been no more than two or three tight finishes. Pitches have been predictably slow at the Shere Bangla National Stadium while the drainage in the two BKSP venues hasn’t helped in the monsoon.

Rain has had a lot to do with the 130-ish average scoring rate in all three venues as matches have been interrupted, reduced and abandoned in the first ten days. Batting line-ups have found themselves out of rhythm. When Dhaka has to host three matches per day from 9am to 10pm, it is clear that the BCB and the clubs are desperate to finish the tournament, rather than worry too much about the quality of cricket.

The other disappointment has been the performance of teams like Gazi Group Cricketers, Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club and Legends of Rupganj. Rupganj lost their first four matches before recovering with two wins, while Gazi Group and Dhanmondi Club have been lacklustre. This, despite all three spending big on player salaries.

Paying for a bio-bubble that costs more than 7 crore takas (USD $825,000 approx.) isn’t sustainable, but Bangladesh is in the middle of a prolonged lockdown so there weren’t too many alternatives to finish what is essentially the 2019-20 DPL. There are still 30 matches left in the first round apart from the Super League and the relegation playoffs.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84