After a roller-coaster ride for more than a month Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) came to momentous end with Rangpur Riders being crowned the Champions of the meet for the first time in the history of the tournament at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
BPL 2017 will be a memorable edition of meet for many reasons, mostly positive. The meet featured everything a successful franchisee based T20 tournaments can offer. Apart from the state of the pitches in Dhaka phase in the later part of the league stage, It is a shining example of a well-planned tournament.
Local players performed exceedingly well amid a much more competitive scenario as the foreign player quota was set at 5 from 4 in the previous editions.
Champions Rangpur Riders skipper Mashrafe Mortaza was phenomenal with his all-round performance amassing 131 runs and 14 wickets at an excellent economy of 6.74 runs along with charismatic leadership. Tamim Iqbal was the highest run-getter among local players with 332 runs. He was also the highest run-scorer for his team.
Bangladesh’s newly appointed Test skipper Shakib Al Hasan also didn’t do too badly either. He went on to become the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 22 wickets to his name. World’s best all-rounder was instrumental in taking Dhaka Dynamites to the final as the skipper where they fell prey to the ‘Gayle-storm’.
The international T20 stars were the main attraction of the tournament and they sure did deliver. The self-proclaimed ‘Greatest’, Chris Gayle does surely have the justification for the claim. He commenced the playoff stage from No 15 in run-getters tally, but the next three innings brought him 275 runs as it put him on top of the list. Gayle’s unbeaten 126 in the eliminator against Khulna Titans and the unbeaten 146 in the final against Dhaka Dynamites not only zoomed him to the top, it handed Rangpur Riders their maiden BPL title.
Carlos Braithwaite, Mohammad Amir and Rashid Khan were also phenomenal with their bowling. Rashid Khan with his confounding mystery leg-spinners were silver bullet for Comilla Victorian. Jofra Archer of Khulna Titans gave the audience that mesmerizing feel of watching a bowler bowling well-over 145 kph while Mohammed Amir gave the batsmen taste of the stinging swinging white ball.
But most importantly for Bangladesh, it was the youngsters who step up to plate for their team when necessary. More specifically members of Bangladesh Under-19 National Cricket Team which were the semi-finalists of International Cricket Council Under-19 World Cup 2016 did a superb job.
Mehedi Hasan Miraz who has already cemented his place in the national team played a crucial role for Comilla Victorians bagging 10 wickets in the process while his brother-at-arms Mohammad Saifuddin took 16 wickets and became the third highest wicket-taker of the meet.
Rangpur Riders were deserving winners of this year’s BPL, and not only because of their hired guns. They peaked at the right time, razing their playoff opponents in one big performance after another. They took down a youthful Khulna Titans side in the eliminator, before riding out the controversial two-day second qualifier against Comilla Victorians. In the final, they never pressed the panic button as Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum burned down Dhaka Dynamites, the pre-tournament favourites.