A final look at the Dhaka Premier Division T20s, a tournament from the 2019-20 season that had to be completed in 2021 (after being converted from one-day cricket to T20s) due to the pandemic. The final phase included the Super League featuring the top six teams, and the relegation playoffs that decided which one out the bottom three teams would survive demotion.
Champions, runners-up and survivors
Abahani Limited became Dhaka Premier League champions after their eight-run win against Prime Bank Cricket Club. Both teams made it a title-deciding match after losing their respective penultimate matches, locking at 22 points each going into the last day.
This will count as Abahani's 21st overall DPL title, as well as their first in DPL T20s. It also completes their fourth instance of a hat-trick of DPL titles.
Prime Bank, who led the first phase's points table, lost ground during the Super League when they lost three out of the five matches. Abahani won four Super League matches. Although Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club made a late dash, they never reached the top three when the title was still in play.
At the other end of the table, big-spending Legends of Rupganj survived the drop to the Dhaka First Division Cricket League after beating Old DOHS Sports Club and Partex Sporting Club in the relegation playoffs. Partex became only the third T20 team after the CPL's St Lucia Stars and Impi (from South Africa's old T20 tournament) to go winless in a domestic tournament (playing more than ten matches).
Top performers Mohammad Saifuddin's 14 wickets in the Super League phase, including the 4-36 against Prime Bank in Saturday's finale, was key to Abahani's late push for the trophy. He finished on 26 wickets, equal with Kamrul Islam Rabbi who was impressive in his death bowling. Fast bowlers took up eight out of the top ten wicket-takers' spots.
Abahani were also lucky that Liton Das recovered from his wrist injury shortly before their captain Mushfiqur Rahim was sidelined with a finger injury. Das and Najmul Hossain Shanto made crucial runs in the Super League phase. Dhanmondi Club's Nurul Hasan and Mohammad Ashraful, and Mahedi Hasan, for Gazi Group Cricketers, looked in good touch during the Super League stage.
Mizanur Rahman, with his 418 runs at 52.25 average from the first phase, finished as the highest scorer. Hasanuzzaman and Rahman were the only centurions while three left-arm quicks - Mustafizur Rahman, Ruyel Miah and Salauddin Sakil - were among four bowlers to take five-fors. Alauddin Babu took the only hat-trick of the tournament.
Flattering to deceive
By Shakib Al Hasan's world-class standards, his 120 runs and nine wickets in eight appearances for Mohammedan Sporting Club were a let down. Soumya Sarkar who was picked in Bangladesh's T20I side against Zimbabwe next month, averaged 22.92 and batted at 117.15 in 16 innings for Gazi Group Cricketers.
Mosaddek Hossain and Sabbir Rahman were also under par, given their experience, averaging in the early twenties with one fifty each.
While most of the pace bowlers were among the wickets, Abu Hider and Qazi Onik had disappointing outings. Among the spinners, the veterans Sohrawordi Shuvo and Sohag Gazi finished with high bowling averages and few wickets.
On the national radar
DPL T20 performances got Shamim Hossain, Nurul Hasan and Aminul Islam into the Bangladesh T20I side for the Zimbabwe series next month. But the national selectors must keep Kamrul Islam Rabbi, joint highest wicket-taker, and Mizanur Rahman, top run-scorer by a distance, in the loop to not lose their rhythm and form. Mahmudul Hasan Joy will certainly interest the selectors, but he also has to work on his open stance that keeps him away from deliveries outside off stump. Parvez Hossain Emon and Saif Hassan were among only three batters to hit at least 20 sixes, so they should also be in consideration in the near future.
The image of Shakib kicking down the stumps catapulted the DPL T20 to worldwide notoriety. Shakib's tantrum was an embarrassment, though it also brought some attention to the already regular accusations of favoritism towards the Dhaka league clubs linked to the BCB's power base.
There probably needs to be a deeper inquisition into the culture of Bangladesh cricket after Sabbir Rahman was found guilty of racially abusing Elias Sunny.
These incidents, however, took the sheen away from some positives that emerged from the DPL T20. A significant moment was when the Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis (CCDM) rescheduled the relegation playoff between Legends of Rupganj and Old DOHS Sports Club to the Shere Bangla National Stadium from BKSP. There was live TV coverage, as well as the involvement of international panel umpires Sharfuddoula and Masudur Rahman. There were no incidents, but it was commendable for CCDM to heed Rupganj's request.
High-quality TV coverage during the Super League stage was another important addition. The BCB had earlier provided one-camera coverage for all other matches.
There was other good news too. Shahadat Hossain's five-year ban was reduced on humanitarian grounds after his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Hossain appeared for Partex Sporting Club, money from which will help her treatment. There was some attention paid to the four young legspinners Aminul Islam, Rishad Hossain, Minhajul Abedin Afridi and Jubair Hossain who played a significantly higher number of matches than in previous seasons.
The BCB also ensured a large bio-bubble for all twelve teams and match officials that included staying in five-star hotels, travel and food, as well as arrangements for entertainment.
Lastly, it was the ground staff at the three venues who really made a difference. They put in at least 18 hours of work on match days, pulling the covers on and off several times due to the heavy rain in June. They are probably the least appreciated of all in Bangladesh cricket, but it would have been impossible to finish the DPD T20 in time without them.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84