Bangladesh Premier League 2012-13 February 3, 2013

Packed stadiums, close chases and the Zimbabwe factor

A look back at the highs and lows from the second week of the Bangladesh Premier League

Chittagong responds to BPL

The arrival of the League in Bangladesh's second-largest city completely changed the complexion of the Twenty20 tournament. The first match at the venue, between the home side (Chittagong Kings) and Sylhet Royals, was played in front of a packed house and nearly all matches over the next five days saw full houses. The chief reason is the central location of the MA Aziz Stadium, which is seeing some cricketing action after hosting football for most of the last eight years. International cricket is played at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in the western corner of Chittagong. Though certain roads leading up to the venue were cordoned off, the spectators lined up two hours before the game. There were also rumours of slashed ticket prices, which attracted a sizeable amount of students from nearby educational institutions. On the final day, when the Kings took on Dhaka Gladiators, there was barely any room to stand in the general galleries.

Tamim Iqbal, who lives just across the street from the stadium, also entertained on a couple of nights, once trying to hit one into his house, though it ended up being a six over deep midwicket.

Kings still struggle

The Kings, however, didn't warm up to the BPL even in the second week. In their first home game, they went down to Sylhet and then lost to Barisal Burners. Captaincy changed hands for the next two games with Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor replacing Mahmudullah, who wasn't enjoying the role and had apparently given it away.

Big-ticket T20 players like Ravi Bopara, Jacob Oram and Shaun Tait didn't quite contribute, and neither did most of the local players. The squad looks thin in specialist T20 batsmen, while the left-arm spinners haven't done a particularly good job of bowling to the fields they set.

Most of the headlines they have made in the BPL this season have been due to Brian Lara, their brand ambassador, who has participated in several events to keep the marketing wheel rolling.

The Zimbabwean connection

Brendan Taylor isn't the only Zimbabwean player to be contributing to his side. The rest of his compatriots have also been chipping in with the bat.

Elton Chigumbura saw the Sylhet Royals through a tight finish, while Charles Coventry won a game for Duronto Rajshahi with a 25-ball 62, possibly the most breathtaking innings in the tournament till date. Sean Ervine has also kept Rajshahi's hopes alive by batting at a strike rate of 140 but his bowling hasn't been up to the mark.

Hamilton Masakadza's batting tapered off slightly after an impressive show in the first few games, but it has been a tournament which would encourage BPL team selectors to keep an eye on more Zimbabwean players, with their local knowledge.

Nasir's tricks

The Rangpur Riders were losing their way in a chase against the home side, Khulna Royal Bengals. But Nasir Hossain, in spectacular form, had other ideas as he led the Khulna chase of 151. Against Afghan left-arm bowler Shapoor Zadran, who was bowling around the wicket, Nasir became a left-hander, then took a front-on stance before settling as a right-hander and smashing the flustered bowler back over his head.

He tried the trick a few times but it wasn't successful and his inability to take strike in the final over didn't help matters either. Nasir's excellent 2012-13 season continues into the BPL and much of Riders' success would depend on him.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • State drive on February 4, 2013, 14:05 GMT

    I'm agree with some comments of our local fan. Though Mr. Islam haven't seen the performance of local players except Nasir but u fan r here to correct Mr. Islam. I am very happy to see those comments that's why no one can not give any wrong news here. Even though thanks Mr. Islam for putting here some highlight of Bpl.

  • C on February 4, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    Happy to read about full houses at the stadium. I am not a fan of T20 cricket and barely watch IPL , yet I understand the need of fans for good entertaining cricket. What pleases me is the chance players from Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe to play and earn decent money from BPL. At a time when cricket is restricted to barely 7 countries you need teenagers from these nations to take to cricket in a big way to augment the list of test cricket playing nations. This is only possible with the financial muscle and heft provided by T20 leagues all over the world. I only hope Pakistan league too takes off and is a financial success. The success of these T20 tournaments can only be good for cricket in the long term and I hope to see test cricket emerge stronger and sounder played between 10 nations atleast.

  • Syeda Tasmia on February 4, 2013, 0:13 GMT

    I am proud of BPL 2 so far...even owais shah has admitted his own mistake with the payment issue (wrong bank details provided by him) pak players (who are 'enjoying' a thrashing from SA : 49 all out) & local boys doing well...i hope this BPL will yield as much future prospects as the last one...if BD had a good 2012, it was due to let's hope BPL 2 brings a good 2013 for the boys in the international arena.

  • Tari on February 3, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    l am proud of all Zim players, playing in the BPL. Zimbabwe was once a BIG nation in cricket. l am sure that time will come again. Rise Zimbabwe Rise. West Indies we are coming for YOU.

  • obaidul on February 3, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    Mohammod Isam should give more focus on the local lad. All the time he mentioned foreign player's contribution. Statistics shows that local player plays far far better than the foreign player this year.

  • Jonny on February 3, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    hahaha...I remember some fans of the other teams complaining about nobody watches BPL and all that first get your simple predictions right then talk. I'm glad BPL scares you because we know it benefits our players especially the regular ones. Like we have said, us Bangladeshi fans all around the world will take this BPL forward no need for you guys but thanks for caring and giving it a publicity cheers!!!

    BPL 2 despite the failed attempts to degrade it and destroy it has been much much better than the first edition and building up as more games build up. All players locals and foriegn are performing well and like the article mentions, many foreign players especially from countries like England, Australia etc are struggling against our locals, its all about confidence for our locals that they can do it and never give in.

    Also good that these other leagues are recruiting players from Ire, Zim etc so they too don't miss our on playing and earning good money.

  • Bryn on February 3, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    ravi bopara being described as a big ticket player is the strangest thing i have ever read

  • Sharfuddin on February 3, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    I think, this report has highlighted the performance of foreign players. The performances of Gazi, Mosharraf, Razzak, Milon, Shamsur, Sabbir, Enamul should also be highlighted. This BPL is yielding more than the previous one in terms of Performances from the fresh bloods. BPL Rocks........

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