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BPL 2019: Chattogram's big start, Mushfiqur's 51-ball 96 light up first week

Mushfiqur Rahim plays a reverse-sweep BCB

The 2019-20 BPL season is yet to pick up pace as a result of one-sided games and low turnouts in Dhaka, but some individual performances have caught the attention. Here's a look at the highlights of week one:

Chattogram off to a flyer, Khulna solid

With four wins out of five games, Chattogram Challengers have distanced themselves from the rest of the pack. Sure, they have played more games than most of the sides due to the scheduling, but Mahmudullah's side has dominated the opening week fair and square.

After crunching Sylhet Thunders on the first day, they lost to Khulna Tigers before picking up three wins in a row, including the high-scoring game against Dhaka Platoon. Lendl Simmons, Imrul Kayes and Chadwick Walton have made the runs but it is the pace trio of Mehedi Hasan Rana, Kesrick Williams and Muktar Ali who have stood out.

Just below Chattogram on the points table are Khulna, who won both their games; Rajshahi Royals, Cumilla Warriors and Dhaka have also won the same number of games, but have played more matches.

Khulna, with Mushfiqur Rahim and Rilee Rossouw making up a strong middle-order, look solid, with Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Robbie Frylinck, Mohammad Amir and Mehidy Hasan offering support with bat and ball.

BPL's strong Caribbean flavour

Players from the Caribbean make up the biggest contingent of overseas players in the BPL. Their Caribbean brigade has been Chattogram's backbone; Walton is already the second-highest run-scorer, having made 153 runs at a strike rate of 136.60, while Simmons and Williams have made match-winning contributions too.

Perhaps the most talked-about moment in the BPL so far has been Krishmar Santokie's controversial no-ball on the opening day, when the left-arm quick overstepped by several inches, setting off alarm bells around the BPL.

Batsman of the week

Mushfiqur's 51-ball 96 was the best innings in the BPL's first week. He helped Khulna chase down Rajshahi's 190-run target with two balls to spare, smashing nine fours and four sixes along the way. His 72 and 61-run stands with Rossouw (third wicket) and Shamsur Rahman (fourth wicket) set up the chase, making Khulna look wonderful on the day.

So impressed was the Khulna head coach James Foster with Mushfiqur's innings that he called him a "360-degree player" for his strokes. What has certainly made him a dangerous proposition for bowlers in T20s is his ability to play the reverse and scoop shots at will, many of them going for sixes.

Bowler of the week

Rana, the left-arm quick, leads the wicket-takers' chart with eight strikes, at an average of 9.87 and a strike rate of a wicket every nine balls.

If he remains fit for the rest of the tournament, this BPL campaign could be the big break in Rana's short career, having spent a few years as a virtual unknown on the domestic circuit despite being an Under-19 starlet. Rana's performance would also be heartening for the BCB's pace-bowling coaches who are looking to groom quality fast bowlers, yet see many of their wards spend time on the bench because of the nature of pitches in Bangladesh.