Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mujeeb Ur Rahman dazzle as playoffs loom

Khulna, Rajshahi, Chattogram and Dhaka reached the BPL's playoffs as the league phase drew to a close

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Najmul Hossain Shanto scored his maiden T20 century, Dhaka Platoon vs Khulna Tigers, BPL 2019-20, Dhaka, January 11, 2020

Najmul Hossain Shanto scored his maiden T20 century  •  BCB

Khulna Tigers, Rajshahi Royals, Chattogram Challengers and Dhaka Platoon reached the BPL's playoffs as the league phase drew to a close on Saturday. Here are the highlights of the past week.
Khulna finish on top
Najmul Hossain Shanto's maiden T20 century on the last day of the league phase powered Khulna Tigers to the top of the points table. They will now face Rajshahi Royals in the first qualifier, with Chattogram Challengers and Dhaka Platoon playing the eliminator.
Khulna have recovered from their mid-tournament dip with their domestic batsmen coming to the fore. Mushfiqur Rahim has continued his good form but the runs from Shanto's bat would encourage them most. Rilee Rossouw, with 458 runs at a strike rate of 158.47, has been their most consistent performer with the bat, while Robbie Frylinck, with 18 wickets at an average of 18.33, has given them good service with the ball.
Mohammad Amir hasn't always been effective, but the likes of Shafiul Islam and Shahidul Islam have helped the side along the way, but Mehidy Hasan Miraz must worry them heading into the crucial encounter against Rajshahi, having taken just one wicket from eight games so far.
BCB team crashes out
Cumilla Warriors, the only team in the competition to be fully run by the BCB, finished fifth in the points table, four points behind Dhaka. It was a fitting end to a muddled season.
Their first big surprise was handing the captaincy to Dasun Shanaka, and not a Bangladeshi cricketer. Soumya Sarkar ended up leading in two games but the BCB missed out on a great opportunity to groom a new T20 captain. They also didn't give leading batting roles to domestic cricketers, with Bhanuka Rajapaksa and the underperforming Stiaan van Zyl getting the most opportunities at the top of the order. In all, they tried nine openers, of whom Rajapaksa, Dawid Malan, van Zyl and Upul Tharanga faced nearly 69% of the deliveries.
Sabbir Rahman was the biggest disappointment, scoring 204 runs in 11 matches at 18.54 and a strike rate of 112.08. Not too far behind was Abu Hider who took only two wickets in ten games, while conceding 10.44 runs per over. Mujeeb Ur Rahman was the standout performer, and was usually relied upon in tough situations including the Super Over against Sylhet Thunder.
There was very little confidence shown by the board in its own T20 players, which went hand in hand with the lack of confidence shown on the field by the likes of Soumya, Sabbir, Hider and Sunzamul Islam.
Batsman of the week
Najmul Hossain Shanto stole the show with his unbeaten 115 against Dhaka. He struck seven sixes and eight fours in his 57-ball knock, and doubled his runs tally in the tournament, literally, having made only 115 runs in his previous eight games.
In fact, Shanto had a horrid start to the season with just five runs from his first four innings, and while one innings doesn't quite do justice to his ability, his maiden T20 century would give him the perfect boost ahead of the playoffs.
Bowler of the week
Mujeeb Ur Rahman is the only spinner among the top ten wicket-takers in the league phase. His 15 wickets have come at an average of 15.86 but his most outstanding number is 5.06 - his economy rate. In the tournament's history, only Ashar Zaidi, in 2015-16, has taken more wickets (17) with a lesser economy rate (4.78) in a single season.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84