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Shanto, Hridoy, Mahmud headline ESPNcricinfo's BPL XI

Pakistanis dominate overseas slots while Taskin is the only one picked from the bottom three teams

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Comilla Victorians defended their BPL title against Sylhet Strikers on Thursday night and players from both those teams feature heavily in this combined XI
Najmul Hossain Shanto (Sylhet Strikers)
Runs 516, Average 39.69, Strike rate 116.74
After five seasons of mediocrity, Shanto has finally broken through with a solid showing. He became the first from Bangladesh to cross 500 runs in a BPL season, through which he ended as the tournament's top run-getter. His unbeaten 89 against Fortune Barishal was his highest score this time, although his fifty in the final, his fourth of the season, was a crucial effort. The highlight though was his consistency, something that he would like to transfer to the international stage.
Rony Talukdar (Rangpur Riders)
Runs 425, Average 35.41, Strike rate 129.17
This was Talukdar's best BPL season, beating his 317 runs at 140.26 strike rate from 2018-19. He was all about fast starts for Rangpur Riders. He averaged 61.50 in the Powerplay, having been dismissed four times during the first six overs. His position among the top run-getters in the competition puts him in direct competition with the likes of Mohammad Naim, Munim Shahriar and Anamul Haque who are among those knocking on the T20I team's door. Could it be Talukdar's time when Bangladesh pick their squad for the England series next month?
Towhid Hridoy (Sylhet Strikers)
Runs 403, Average 36.63, Strike rate 140.41
If he hadn't picked himself up for this season, Hridoy would have been a BPL footnote: the one who lost the 2022 final because he couldn't hit the last ball for a boundary. But he restructured his T20 game and produced his first big performance at any level. He has added a number of shots to his armoury this season, including the pick-up over square-leg and the carves over point and extra cover. He even recovered from a hand injury to continue batting in the same way. The duck in the final would be a disappointment but it doesn't diminish his effort.
Shakib Al Hasan (Fortune Barishal)
Wickets 10, Economy rate 6.31, Runs: 375, Strike rate: 174.41
He has made it to ESPNcricinfo's BPL XI for the seventh time, the most by any cricketer in this competition. Shakib led Fortune Barishal very well, especially in the first half of the competition when they could do no wrong. But he made a bit of a misstep in their last match - the Eliminator - when he kept going down the order and didn't even get to bat. With the ball, he remained the ace in the pack, regularly picking up wickets, and giving away very little.
Iftikhar Ahmed (Fortune Barishal)
Runs 351, Average 58.50, Strike rate 157.39
If all the rage about Iftikhar this month was about his six sixes in a Wahab Riaz over in an exhibition match, one must also look at how he fared in the BPL. He played arguably the most entertaining innings, the 45-ball unbeaten 100 against Chattogram Challengers, including a 25-run over against Shamim Hossain. He struck two other unbeaten fifties as he grew into a middle-order giant for Barishal. They surely missed him after February 7, as they bowed out from the competition in the Eliminator match.
Khushdil Shah (Comilla Victorians)
Runs 239, Average 47.80, Strike rate 161.48
Another big-hitting middle-order presence in the BPL, Khushdil not only entertained with his sixes, he also bailed Comilla Victorians out from their early struggles. It took him a little while to get used to the Dhaka pitches, but when he did, Khushdil finished his time in the BPL with a 161.48 strike-rate. He also bowled handy left-arm spin, and was more than a safe fielder.
Imad Wasim (Sylhet Strikers)
Wickets 12, Average 17.91, Economy rate 5.11
Only the Strikers will know just how valuable Imad was bowling with the new ball. He has always done well in the BPL, but this time it has counted towards the Strikers' push to the final. Imad has the lowest economy rate (5.11) among bowlers who have bowled a minimum of 150 balls in the competition. In fact, his 5.11 economy rate is also the second-lowest in a season (minimum 240 balls) among all bowlers behind Sunil Narine's 4.57 in 2017.
Azmatullah Omarzai (Rangpur Riders)
Wickets 15, Average 18.33, Economy rate 7.17
Riders dropping the fast bowler Omarzai for the Eliminator match provoked shocked reactions around the Shere Bangla National Stadium. Of course the legendary Dwayne Bravo replaced him but Omarzai was a vital cog in the Riders' league stage. He was the most effective with the new ball, taking 13 of his 15 wickets in the Powerplay. Those numbers get better with his 11.07 average and 5.53 economy rate in the first six overs. Omarzai's 13 wickets is also the third-best in the Powerplay in a BPL season. Something worth looking at for T20 scouts from other leagues.
Taskin Ahmed (Dhaka Dominators)
Wickets 10, Average 20.60, Economy rate 6.02
Taskin is the second player after Shakib to be a repeat occupant in ESPNcricinfo's BPL XI. He remains Bangladesh's best all-format fast bowler, after doing well in Tests and ODIs in the last two years. He played for the struggling Dhaka Dominators, and in that backdrop, his 4 for 9 against Khulna Tigers, defending 108 runs, equalling the second-lowest total defended successfully in this competition's history, really stood out.
Tanvir Islam (Comilla Victorians)
Wickets 17, Average 17.58, Economy rate 6.36
It is hard to stand out as a left-arm spinner in Bangladesh but that's exactly what Tanvir' did in this season's BPL. His accuracy and effectiveness in all phases helped the Victorians greatly. Tanvir even has an action, with which he gets a lot of dip into fastish deliveries. He has a fine celebration too, unique within the BPL. If a smart scout is looking out for a good bowler in all phases of a T20, Tanvir can be that bowler.
Hasan Mahmud (Rangpur Riders)
Wickets 17, Average 24.82, Economy rate 7.98
He may have a high average and economy rate compared to the other bowlers, but fast bowler Mahmud got the Riders what they really wanted: wickets. Captain Nurul Hasan and coach Shohel Islam ensured he bowled mostly in the right moments for them. For example, Mahmud is the best death bowler in the BPL this season. It is one of his strengths, particularly the yorker. But he has showed other deliveries too, and continues to grow into a strong performer with the white ball.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84