Any match in Sylhet comes with a lot of hype from the local people and the stadiums are generally full to their capacity. And the Sylhet stage of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) T20 2019-20 was no different as the stadiums were packed but in all three days the fans went home with disappointment as the home team, Sylhet Thunder continued on their disastrous run.
Despite Sylhet Thunder fumbling again, they were the team to gift the fans with the first super over in this BPL, when they tied their match against Cumilla Warriors. Sylhet stage also ensured a playoff spot for Rajshahi Royals and Chattogram Challengers, as they both now sit on 14 points.
But the most important fact will obviously be that the enthusiasm of the Sylheti fans deserves more, more from their team and more matches from the Bangladesh Cricket Board.
Sylhet's woes continue
Sylhet Thunder's performance in this BPL has been frustrating, to say the least. Before arriving in Sylhet, they managed to only win one game out of their eight and nothing different happened at home for them as they lost all of their three games here.
The situation worsened as their coach Herschelle Gibbs called out the miscommunication among him and the local players, saying that the local recruits did not understand English and also, he (Gibbs) might have thought too much of the local players. This controversy went up a notch as Sylhet player Nayeem Hasan said that the language barrier was not the problem because the coaches of the national team talked in English too.
With all this going around, Sylhet managed to lose all their games at home and keep their place at the bottom of the points table with 10 defeats from their 11 games and have only two points in their bank.
Super over drama
Even though Sylhet disappointed with their performance throughout the season, they managed to spark some excitement in their game against Cumilla Warriors as they took the game to a super over but lost there too.
In the second match of the Sylhet stage, Cumilla Warriors batted first and put up a score of 140, setting Sylhet a reachable target of 141. But Sylhet, as they have performed this year, managed to lose five wickets within the seventh over, scoring only 33 runs. But Sohag Gazi and Nazmul Hossain Milon did not give up on the chase as they put up a 70-run stand off 52 deliveries to show Sylhet some hope. But a triple wicket over from Cumilla's Mujeeb-ur-Rahman saw them reduce to 104-8, almost taking them out of the game. But the tailenders had other ideas as Monir Hossain and Naveen-ul-Haq managed to take Sylhet to 140 to tie the game.
In the super over, Sylhet could only manage seven runs as Mujeeb was brilliant once again. And despite losing Soumya Sarkar, Cumilla managed to clinch victory with a delivery to go.
The Sylhet stage saw the two most consistent sides of this BPL, Chattogram Challengers and Rajshahi Royals ensure a spot in the playoffs as both of them now have 14 points in their bag and sit on first and second position in the points table.
Chattogram played only one game in the Sylhet stage which was against Khulna Tigers and they won that game comfortably. On the other hand, Rajshahi played two games at Sylhet, against Rangpur Rangers and the hosts and won both their games comfortably to clinch top spot.
Both teams have two games left and will be looking to keep their place at the top to have a better chance of reaching the final.
Khulna in a fix
Khulna Tigers came into the Sylhet stage with five wins from their seven matches and looked all set to go through to the playoffs easily but both their matches at Sylhet turned out as defeats and they are now in a dangerous place as both Rangpur and Cumilla are only two points behind them.
Khulna lost both their games in an unconvincing manner as in their both games, against Dhaka Platoon and Chattogram Challengers, they were defeated with ease by the opposition.
Khulna will have to bring their A-game out in their next three matches if they want to ensure a playoff spot because the state they are in right now, they might just be knocked out despite having one of the best sides in the tournament.
Sylhet deserves more
Despite gifting the BPL with the most absorbed crowd in the tournament last time, Sylhet only had three days of BPL action this time around. And considering how empty the galleries at Dhaka been, Sylhet deserved way more action than just six matches. There was a problem with the grass of the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium this time around and that might have cut its game time, but that should not be the case in the future.
Because the Sylheti people with their enthusiasm for the game deserves more, deserves way more than just three days.