On the fifth match day and its first weekend, the 2018-19 season of the BPL finally burst to life. After a string of boring, one-sided games, It needed a complete unknown to grab the attention of the cricket-watching public.
On his T20 debut, Aliss Islam, who had been bowling in Dhaka Dynamites' nets at the BCB Academy ground, took only the third hat-trick in the tournament's history, against Rangpur Riders. Mohammad Mithun, Mashrafe Mortaza and Farhad Reza were his victims of the hat-trick, before which Aliss had taken the key wicket of Rilee Rossouw, who had made 83 off 44 balls to put Rangpur on top in their chase of 184.
Then, with Rangpur needing 14 off the last over, Aliss only conceded 11 to give Dhaka a two-run win over the defending champions in front of the season's first full house.
Aliss, who had recently been cleared of a suspect action according to BCB director Jalal Yunus, had had a debut to remember - this after he had dropped Mithun twice in the eighth over. It was his first game at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, which naturally made him nervous. Before this match, all he had ever played were Dhaka league matches in front of his own team-mates, coaches and club officials, in nondescript grounds around the city.
"I was a net bowler in the Dhaka Dynamites' training," Aliss said. "[Khaled Mahmud, the Dhaka Dynamites coach and BCB director] Sujon sir saw me bowling. He believed that I can do well, which is why he picked me. I got the support of the team management and the players. Then I was in the playing XI.
"This is my first match in this stadium. I was quite nervous. I got support from my teammates and coaches after I dropped the two catches. Everyone encouraged me throughout. It gave me the faith that maybe if I bowl in the right areas, something might happen."
Aliss, who hails from Savar in the northern outskirts of Dhaka, said he was informed on the eve of the match that he would be playing with some of the biggest superstars in world cricket. "[Khaled Mahmud] sir told me last evening that I should be physically and mentally ready. I was prepared but I also became nervous to be playing in this big stadium, in the big tournament."
The match had a lot of twists and turns, starting from Dhaka recovering from 64 for 4 in the ninth over to make 183 for 9, and Rangpur failing to chase down the target despite being 146 for two in the 16th over with Rossouw and Mithun having added 121 for the third wicket.
A multitude of problems have affected the tournament this season, including the pitches in Dhaka that have so far produced dull cricket. The BPL has also been dogged by production issues, and the TV commentators and broadcasters have frequently made comical errors. Amidst all that, Rangpur's dramatic collapse and the rookie's spectacular recovery after an embarrassing start have injected a fresh sense of excitement.