Team Review : Barisal Burners
As of this writing, Barisal has qualified for the semi final finishing their final match. They will finish 4th barring major meltdowns from Dhaka or Khulna in their final games in which case they could finish either 2nd or 3rd. Barisal’s slot is likely come at the expense of Chittagong who was sitting atop the mountain at the midway break. Barisal and Chittagong gave BPL in their final league match the kind of attention that will be the cornerstone of a successful league: competitive and exciting cricket.
5-5 / Qualified for Semi Final
Nafees, Barisal’s icon player, took charge but lasted the first half and along with the captaincy lost his spot in the team as well. Nafees, along with Shakib (Khulna) and Mushfiq (Rajshahi) were the icon players entrusted with the leadership from the beginning. Nafees rode the Gayle/Shehzad combination to 2 wins before losing the next three. Barisal lost Gayle due to his commitments in South Africa and management turned the reigns over to Brad Hodge. Hodge didn’t fare much better in terms of results for the first four games but did put a leadership stamp that was lacking by Nafees. When the situation called for it, he took ownership to open and ignored his 115 SR in the previous games to post a 186.11 SR 67, when the asking was to win the game with 151 in 16 overs. Nafees can’t really be blamed too much for the results as a captain or not putting up numbers to rival that of the other batsmen in the squad given his batting history but he seemed to be shielded by coming down late in the order. Whether by choice or forced by management, his selection in the XI was meaningless. Tracking back to his ICL stint, it could be argued that he may have contributed more with a few more chances but with such a rich batting line up, his role in this team was non-existent.
Turning to Hodge was a great move on Barisal’s part as they reversed their 2-3 start to a 3-2 finish to break 500 and overcome a negative net run rate to stay alive in the tournament.
- Lowest total 125 all out vs. Khulna (also had 125/6 vs. Chittagong)
- Broke 150 seven out of nine times (successfully chasing totals less than 150 not included)
- Max completed total 192/3 vs. Rajshahi (in a loss)
- Biggest wins : 10 wickets vs. Sylhet chasing 165 , 22 runs vs. Rajshahi
- Largest defeat : 9 wickets to Rajshahi defending 192
- 2 100’s and 8 50’s along with 75 6’s
- Allowed largest total of 208 to be posted (by Dhaka) in tournament as well as largest successful chase to Rajshahi
- As of this writing, have 3 batsmen in the top 10 run scorers list
(note: assuming 150 to be a benchmark team total, 125 SR would be the corresponding benchmark)
- Even though behind Shehzad in total runs scored, it would be wrong to give the first bulled to anyone but Gayle. The undisputed king of T20, played the first half of the tournament and unfortunately left injured in his final innings. 5 innings, 288 runs, 2 not outs, 2 centuries, 187.01 SR and 26 sixes. Forged 250 run partnership across first two matches with Shehzad before their first dismissal
- Hard to be in Gayle’s shadow but Ahmed Shehzad held his own. 10 innings, 1 not out, 4 50’s, 345 runs at 141.97 SR. Whether it be winning the match or providing Gayle or Hodge the partnership required at the opening, Shehzad was there.
- Brad Hodge (9 innings, 2 not outs, 243 at 128.57 SR) and Mustard (6 innings, 2 not outs, 184 at 135.29) were also handy with the bat with three half centuries between them. Both provided crucial innings in the elimination game vs. Chittagong.
- Domestic boys Mominul Haque(111 runs at 144.15 including a half century) and Mithun Ali (106 runs at 113.97 ) round out the 100 run club.
- Notable absentee in the batting stats is Barisal’s icon and captain for the first half Shahriar Nafees (3 innings 38 runs at 67.85 SR)
- Hitting maximums was not an issue thanks to Gayle and Shehzad (44 between them) but Hodge/Mustard/Monimul/Mithun put up 28 6’s between them
(note : Using 150 benchmark, 7.5 is the economy marker between good and bad)
- Harwood was to be Barisals bowling spearhead and he delivered well in the first two matches (both wins) before falling to injury. 7.2-0-40-3 at 5.65 economy.
- S. Shuvo was the lone performer with the ball in the remaining matches in terms of economy at 7.16. A 4 over spell for 20 runs in the final match was critical after Chittagong had blazed off to great start. He had 9 wickets putting him only behind Arafat who overtook him in the final match thanks to a 3 wicket haul. Shuvo had the best Burner figures for a match at 3/20.
- Nazmul Islam, Yaseer Araft and Kabir Ali (in the second half of the tournament) contributed with wickets (7, 10, 6) but were not so cheap, going 8.07, 8.08 and 8.88 respectively. Arafat was the only other Burner to take a 3 wicket haul in a match
- Barisal turned to part time bowling in Gayle, Shehzad and Hodge for significant number of overs but not at much success
International vs. Domestic:
- Batting line up loaded with international stars thanks to Gayle, Shehzad and Hodge
- Monimul showed glimpses of class in a couple of matches including a match winning half century
- Bowling for Barisal was the weak spot with Shuvo being the lone star ensure that there was some domestic contribution to the squad
Barisal’s efforts in the final match ensured that five of the six teams would finish with a .500 or better record in the first edition of BPL. They started strong with two wins but then fizzled with three losses. With Gayle gone, Hodge and Shehzad took control to give Barisal 3 wins in the last 5 matches and a semi final berth. Loss of Harwood to injury was a key factor in the early setback as well. As strong as their batting line up was, their bowling attack was one of the weakest by allowing Dhaka to post the highest score of the tournament and allowing Rajshahi to have the highest successful chase.
Gayle was the class entertainer providing BPL with 2 amazing centuries. The team banked everything on their batting and the top order did not disappoint. Mominul’s cameos and some useful contribution by Mithun kept the batting from being exclusively international. The team selection and composition was among the best and losing Gayle and Harwood was beyond their control. Management made the right call to pull the plug on Nafees, but hopefully this will be a motivating factor for him for upcoming editions. He worked himself back to the national fold after the ICL debacle so there is no reason to write him off now. However, he should not be in the running for a national T20 squad at this moment.
Hodge justified himself as being the right person to take the leadership being one of the most experienced T20 players in the world. It’s a shame for him that had it not been for being an Australian at the wrong time, he may have gone down in the records books in a fruitful international career as well. Shehzad will likely finish #2 in the league run getters behind Kamran Akmal of Sylhet, but given their entry into the post season, the possibility of taking the top spot is a likely outcome.
Barisal promises to be a handful for their semi final opponent and definitely a favorite to win it all.
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Last edited by Raynman; February 26, 2012 at 01:27 PM..