Recently concluded Bangabandhu T20 Cup saw Gemcon Khulna lifting the all-important trophy where a bunch of youngsters chipped in with tremendous performance in all three departments of the game. This was one of those rare occasions in our cricket where the big names were in their shadows while the young guns ran the show.
The Business Standard (TBS) tried to pick the best XI of the tournament where the performances of the cricketers and most importantly, the impact of their performances on the results of the matches were taken into account. There were some obvious picks as well as some debatable and tough ones.
1) Liton Kumar Das (WK)- Liton Kumar Das was probably the most obvious name on the list. Leading the run-chart of the tournament, Litton oozed with class and confidence all through the campaign. Besides scoring 393 runs with the bat at an average of nearly 50, Liton had 10 dismissals as a wicket-keeper, which is the highest of the tournament as well. He bagged three 50s from the 10 innings he batted.
2) Soumya Sarkar- Soumya was not in the best run of form in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup, but he still managed to score 292 runs which made him the 4th highest run-getter in the tournament. He had stiff competition with Tamim Iqbal and Parvez Hossain Emon for his position, but his impactful knocks and useful slow-medium bowling edged him past the other candidates. He also bagged 3 wickets with ball in hand.
3) Najmul Hossain Shanto- Shanto is finally paying off in the big stage. Despite being an opener, the scarcity of performers in number 3 position made us pick at this position in our eleven. Shanto scored 301 runs with the bat from 8 innings, with a brilliant hundred and two 50s. He is very well capable of playing according to the team's need, switching between hitting the ball hard and rotating strike. His staggering strike rate of 156.77 speaks for himself. He also led his team from the front and impressed with his leadership qualities on and off the field.
4) Yasir Ali- Yasir Ali impressed mostly with his timely batting. He stood tall whenever his team were in danger and needed a saviour. Most of his innings in the tournament rescued Beximco Dhaka from early danger and put them to a somewhat comfortable position in the end. Yasir scored 294 runs at an average of 36.75. His skipper, Mushfiqur Rahim, would be competing with him for this position in our eleven, but Yasir's impact was bigger.
5) Mahmudullah Riyad (C)- The champion skipper had somewhat an average performance in the early part of the tournament. But he rose to the occasion when it mattered the most. He scored his only fifty-plus innings in the all-important finale which guided his team to a defendable position from an early mess and eventually helped winning the tournament. He also played a little cameo in the first Qualifier scoring 30 off just 9 balls against the same opposition, Gazi Group Chattogram. Apart from batting, Mahmudullah led his side from the front and bagged 2 wickets with ball in hand.
6) Akbar Ali - People might have doubted his hitting skills as he showed his slow batting side before in the Under-19 Cricket world cup. But the world champion skipper, Akbar does have the other side of batting as well. Akbar was called on to bat during the death overs mostly and proved his doubters wrong with a staggering strike rate of 150. He hit 9 sixes in the tournament as well. Ariful Haque could be another contender in this position, but Akbar seemed more effective and impactful when he was asked to bat on. Akbar's best score of unbeaten 45 came against Minister Group Rajshahi where he guided his team to a solid total and eventually winning the match. And he is a gun fielder too.
7) Shuvagata Hom- Shuvagata has to be one of the best utility players of this tournament. Pretty decent with the bat, more than good enough with the ball, the Gemcon Khulna all-rounder did it all. His blistering strike-rate of 184.61 proved to be helpful for his team in the death overs. He also bagged 10 wickets from the 6 innings he bowled in with an average of 10.90 and a brilliant economy rate of 6.67 runs per over. He also grabbed 6 catches.
8) Nahidul Islam - The right-arm offspinner impressed most with his simple yet effective bowling during the powerplays. Beximco Dhaka's Robiul Islam Robi gave a tough competition. Robi had more wickets in his bag than Nahidul. But, Nahidul's extraordinary bowling in the power plays gave him the edge. Also, Nahidul scored 45 runs off just 18 balls he faced in the entire tournament. Nahidul bowled 36 overs in the tournament, most of them in the power plays, gave away only 218 runs at a brilliant economy rate of 6.05 runs per over and also bagged 10 wickets. Only Shakib Al Hasan has a better economy rate than him among the bowlers who bowled more than 30 overs in the tournament. Isn't that just plain brilliant?
9) Mustafizur Rahman - This was the most obvious one of all. Man of the tournament and bowler of the tournament, Mustafizur Rahman. Fast Bowlers had a great show all through the tournament. Top 5 bowlers on the list are all pacers. But Gazi Group Chattogram's Mustafiz was way ahead of everyone else. He bagged 22 wickets from 38.5 overs he bowled at an amazing economy rate of 6.25. He bagged one four-wicket haul, best bowling figure in the tournament being 3.5-0-5-4. Is this the revival of The Fizz? We can only wait and hope.
10) Shoriful Islam - Mustafiz's bowling partner, Shoriful Islam, the under-19 Worldcup-winning left-arm fast bowler impressed throughout the tournament and did justice to the hype created surrounding him. Shoriful bagged 16 wickets in the tournament and complimented his senior partner Mustafiz pretty well. His hunger and positive attitude on the pitch impressed the most. He gave around 8 runs per over, but his superb strike-rate covered that for him.
11) Shohidul Islam - The final spot saw some stiff competitions among three contenders. Muktar Ali, Kamrul Islam Rabbi and Shohidul Islam - all had a great tournament and deserved a place in the eleven. Shohidul bagged 15 wickets in the tournament while Muktar bagged 17 and Rabbi had 16 to his tally, but Shohidul's better average and economy rate, more importantly, his effective death bowling kept him ahead of the other two. While Rabbi and Muktar went for more than eight and half runs per over, Shohidul kept in well under 8. Also, he played 8 matches while Muktar and Rabbi played 10 and 9 games respectively.
Some big names were missing from the list. The likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim played the whole tournament still couldn't make the impact expected from them. Rather the young guns blazed and played their part throughout the tournament. Is it a good or bad sign for our cricket?