When the second and penultimate phase of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20's fourth edition came to an end in Chittagong, the Dhaka fans were eagerly waiting for the third and final phase – the business stage of the competition.
And, the franchises and players did not disappoint, playing some high-octane cricket to capture the imagination of the supporters.
Dhaka Tribune takes a look back at the five most talked about incidents from the third phase, held in Dhaka's Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
The intense battle between Rajshahi’s Sabbir and Rangpur Riders’ Afghanistan cricketer Shahzad is one of the most talked about moments of the Dhaka phase. During Rajshahi’s innings, Sabbir and Shahzad got engaged in a heated conversation and the on-field umpire had to intervene. The situation turned ugly at one stage when Rangpur came to chase their target. Shahzad poked Sabbir with his bat while heading towards the dressing room after being dismissed. Replays showed that there was definite contact, following which Sabbir crouched down for a few minutes as the rest of the team celebrated Shahzad’s wicket. Sabbir was running past Shahzad when the bat was extended. The Rajshahi players walked towards the Rangpur dressing-room while Shahzad was making his way to the dressing room. Shahzad briefly turned around before slowly entering the dressing room. It was no surprise therefore when both the players were penalised after the incident. Shahzad was initially suspended for two games and fined 30 percent of his match fee. The franchise duly pleaded guilty and as a result, Shahzad's suspension was reduced by half. Sabbir on the other hand was fined 30 percent of his match fee.
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Rajshahi youngster Afif Hossain shone brightly with the ball against Chittagong Vikings DHAKA TRIBUNE
Prior to Saturday’s match between Chittagong and Rajshahi in Mirpur, hardly anyone had heard of Afif, the 17-year old cricketer from Khulna. The young off-spinner displayed sheer brilliance, eventually ending up with magical bowling figure of 5/21 from his four overs. In the process, the youngster created a host of records, including registering the best bowling figure in the ongoing BPL 4. What’s more, he is the youngest cricketer in T20 history to bag five wickets, surpassing Pakistan’s Ziaul Haque. Afif, a former student of BKSP and currently the vice-captain of the Bangladesh under-19 team, is chiefly a left-handed batsman with the reputation of being a hard-hitter. The offie picked up the huge wicket of West Indies hard hitter Chris Gayle as he helped Rajshahi to reach the playoffs. He is undoubtedly a bright prospect for Bangladesh cricket.
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Chittagong captain Tamim Iqbal slashes one against Dhaka Dynamites DHAKA TRIBUNE
Tamim’s brilliant form
Dashing opening batsman Tamim has been in terrific touch throughout the tournament. Tamim guided Chittagong more often than not and it was largely because of their skipper that the port city outfit made it to the playoffs. The 27-year old smashed five fifties, including three in the Dhaka phase, and is now the leading run-scorer of the competition with 425 runs in 12 games at an average of 42.50. Despite the presence of Gayle, the in-form Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi and Pakistan's Shoiab Malik in the line-up, Tamim has led from the front and inspired his side to gain some much needed momentum after struggling at the beginning. Yet again, Chittagong will bank on their captain consistent when they take on Rajshahi in the do-or-die Eliminator on Tuesday.
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Rangpur's Shahid Afridi and Chittagong's Gayle share a light moment DHAKA TRIBUNE
It was a full house at the home of cricket in Mirpur during the evening match between Rangpur and Chittagong. One of the reasons behind the gathering of the packed crowd might have been due to the clash between the two biggest hitters of world cricket – Afridi and Gayle. Afridi was playing for Rangpur while Gayle featured for Chittagong. The mouthwatering battle was initiated when Gayle hit two huge sixes off Afridi. Afridi though had the last laugh as he dismissed Gayle off the very next ball. Gayle tried to hit his third six in a row only to top-edge the delivery onto the hands of Anwar Ali at short mid-wicket.
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Comilla Victorians captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza ponders after yet another defeat DHAKA TRIBUNE
There were a lot of expectations riding on defending champion Comilla Victorians, who were looking to defend their title under the captaincy of Mashrafe bin Mortaza. However, the holders gave a poor account of themselves, having failed to settle on their playing XI throughout the competition. They began the Dhaka phase with four straight losses before moving to Chittagong for the second phase where they lost two and won one. They began the third and final phase in Dhaka with a loss but ended their campaign on a high, registering four wins in a row. No doubt the Comilla fans, team management, owners, and the players themselves, will eye a much better campaign in the fifth edition.