Defending champion Comilla Victorians made the worst possible start in their bid to defend the title, losing the first five matches in the fourth edition of the Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20. The five losses virtually ousted Comilla from the playoff race. The franchise recruited some good players in the draft in the shape of Pakistan all-rounders Imad Wasim and Sohail Tanvir and opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad but were unable to produce the desired result and eventually finished their campaign at sixth position in the points table. Comilla managed to win five out of 12 matches. They restored some lost pride by winning their last four matches in a row.
Comilla struggled to find the right combination in the first matches or so. In the first few matches, they picked four overseas all-rounders in the playing XI – Tanvir, Wasim, West Indies' Marlon Samuels and Ashar Zaidi - but the strategy did not work. The top-order did not click for Comilla in the first and second phase. The faltering opening batting pair was always a headache for Comilla as they tried out various combinations. Wicketkeeper-batsman Liton Kumar Das, left-hander Imrul Kayes, youngster Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Pakistan's Khalid Latif and Jasimuddin were all tried as openers but nothing clicked for the holders and it affected them a great deal. As usual, captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza was impressive with both bat and ball and his captaincy was also praiseworthy. But it is their batting that let the team down on numerous occasions. Comilla also missed a death bowler like Abu Haider Rony, who joined Barisal Bulls this year. Last year’s player of the series, Zaidi was not in the best of form and struggled to even make it to starting XI.
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Comilla's Imrul Kayes failed more often than not to give his side a good start DHAKA TRIBUNE
Comilla did bounce back in the final stages of the tournament and Samuels and Shehzad were able to score some runs, along with Kayes. Comilla will surely try to forget this season, fix their team combination and achieve something good next time around.
Kayes missed out big time when his team needed him the most. The opener finished with 257 runs in 12 innings. Shanto was impressive with the willow scoring 180 runs in 12 innings but his strike rate was not up to the mark, bearing in mind the T20 format. Mashrafe was brilliant with the leather taking 13 wickets in 12 innings. Spinner Nabil Samad made some valuable contributions picking up eight wickets in 10 innings. But the experienced Mohammad Sharif was disappointing as he managed only two wickets in seven matches.
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Comilla's Marlon Samuels was one of the few bright spots for his side DHAKA TRIBUNE
Samuels was impressive with the bat. The two-time World T20 champion scored 334 runs in just eight innings with a staggering average of 66.80. Opener Shehzad also batted well making 247 runs in eight innings. But the chief disappointment was Zaidi. Zaidi was Comilla's star performer last season. But this year, the all-rounder struggled to find his rhythm and played only three matches. Another disappointment for Comilla was Wasim. The highly rated all-rounder is regarded as one of the best T20 players in recent times. But Wasim only played two matches bagging as many wickets and scoring only five runs. Comilla’s best overseas player with the ball was perhaps Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan. The leggie was magnificent throughout the tournament. He took 13 wickets in just eight matches at an economy rate of 6.06.
Abdullah al Mamun (all-rounder), Al Amin (all-rounder), Imrul Kayes (batsman), Jasimuddin (batsman), Liton Kumar Das (wicketkeeper/batsman), Mashrafe bin Mortaza (all-rounder), Mohammad Sharif (bowler), Nabil Samad (bowler), Nahidul Islam (all-rounder) and Nazmul Hossain Shanto (batsman).
Ashar Zaidi (England/all-rounder), Ahmed Shehzad (Pakistan/batsman), Jason Holder (West Indies/all-rounder), Imad Wasim (Pakistan/all-rounder), Khalid Latif (Pakistan/batsman), Nuwan Kulasekara (Sri Lanka/bowler), Rovman Powell (West Indies/all-rounder) and Sohail Tanvir (Pakistan/bowler).
Last 12 matches:
BPL 4 statistics
Statistics source: ESPNcricinfo