The fifth edition of the most coveted sporting event of the country, Bangladesh Premier League T20 tournament is all set to light up the nation from today.
Two matches are billed for the opening day’s fixture of the month-long cricket series. Defending champions Dhaka Dynamites will take on Sylhet Sixers in the opener at 2:00pm while Rangpur Riders will meet former runners-up Rajshahi Kings at 7:00pm. Both the matches will be held at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.
Ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who is the fourth highest run scorer of BPL, will lead the holders Dhaka. He is just 29 runs away to join the 1000-run club of BPL with 971 runs under his belt.
His team consists of a strong batting line-up, including Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara, Windies Sunil Narine and Evin Lewis, Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi and national level cricketers such as Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Abu Hider Rony, Mehedi Maruf, Mohammad Shahid.
Sylhet, which will return to action after missing out the fourth edition of BPL, will be led by new captain with new owners of the franchisee.
Sylhet will be captained by Nasir Hossain while power-hitter Bangladeshi batsman Sabbir Rahman will join the team as the Icon player. Sabbir is also just 90 runs away to reach the 1000-run mark of BPL.
The second match of the day will be an exciting contest where the cricket fans will be able to enjoy a battle between two skippers of two formats of Bangladesh national team.
Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe Mortaza will be leading the new-look Rangpur Riders from the front. Meanwhile, the Test skipper of the Tigers Mushfiqur Rahim will be wearing Rajshahi Kings’ jersey as their vice-captain.
Mashrafe, the most successful BPL captain with three titles under his name for two different teams, is expected to lead his team to the title again, which includes Lasith Malinga, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera from Sri Lanka, Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles from West Indies, Brendon McCullum from New Zealand, Ravi Bopara from England and many more.
Rangpur also have a skilled domestic squad, including Rubel Hossain, Sohag Gazi, Mohammad Mithun, Elias Sunny, Ziaur Rahman and others.
Rajshahi have managed a formidable attack just like the team of their previous campaign. They have Mominul Haque, Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Forhad Reza, Nihaduzzaman, Rony Talukder, Naeem Islam Jr and Kazi Anik Islam to fill up the local players’ quota.
Their foreign recruits have big names including Darren Sammy (captain), Mohammad Sami, Kesrick Williams, Lendl Simmons, James Franklin, Samit Patel and Luke Wright.
Khulna Titans, Chittagong Vikings and Comilla Victorians are the three other teams participating in the tournament. A total of 46 matches will be played in the 39-day series.
Three venues will hold the matches throughout the tournament. The venues are Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka, Sylhet International Cricket Stadium in Sylhet and Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong.