Rangpur Riders captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza joined the team in their practice session Friday ahead of their first match
The stage is all set for the curtain-raiser of the Bangladesh Premier League as defending champion Rangpur Riders will face Chittagong Vikings in the tournament opener in Mirpur’s Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium Saturday.
The match begins at 12:30pm local time, while Dhaka Dynamites and Rajshahi Kings will lock horns with each other in the second game, scheduled to begin at 5:20pm.
Rangpur created quite a buzz prior to the season after signing explosive South African batsman AB de Villiers.
But Rangpur coach Tom Moody informed the media Thursday that the Proteas batsman will come later in the tournament, and is likely to play the last seven matches of the group stage.
England opener Alex Hales has also been signed by the Riders for the season, and the Englishman took part in training Friday.
West Indies master-blaster Chris Gayle was retained for the season, and the left-hander was scheduled to reach Dhaka Friday night or early Saturday morning.
Ahead of their first match of the sixth edition against defending champion @ridersofhope the @khulnatitans trained in Mirpur’s Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium Thursday morning where all the local players and five foreign cricketers were presenthttps://t.co/BPhkAf77Fh#BCB— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) January 3, 2019
So his participation for the first game remains doubtful.
Rangpur captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza joined the team in their practice session Friday ahead of their first match.
The skipper, who was elected as Member of the Parliament in the recent national general election, believes the sixth season of the BPL will be more challenging than the previous editions.
“I believe the team are more stronger than the previous season. We are confident of performing well this season. It’s a new season, and new beginning. So we have to start well. First game is always important for every team. One or two player can change the game. Every team are strong this season. It will be a competitive tournament,” Mashrafe said.
His today’s counterpart, Chittagong captain Mushfiqur Rahim believes the Vikings can surprise the opponent with their brand of exciting cricket.
Mushfiq has targeted a good start to the season against the defending champion.
@davidwarner31 was seen to have a long discussion in the training session with head coach @waqyounis99, and in all likelihood, the skipper was perhaps making the strategy for their side.https://t.co/p4pjutq9NC#BCBTIGERS #BCB #TIGERS #CRICKET #BANGLADESH #BANGLADESHCRICKET #BPLJanuary 3, 2019
“Although our first match is against the defending champion Rangpur, we believe we can start with a win. We have some very effective players in our squad who can perform well in the T20 format. I believe Chittagong will produce some surprises this season,” Mushfiq said.
Dhaka have managed to build a strong team yet again with some established performers in T20 cricket like Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine.
The Dhaka camp is cautions of starting the season well, and on a positive note.
“We have been playing with the same set of guys for a few years, and we will take nothing for granted. We are going to play our best cricket, and put our best effort forward. We need to make sure that we bowl well and bat well and take our catches in the field. And I wish everyone the best for the season,” said Windies all-rounder Russell.
Rajshahi have a new skipper this season as young Mehedi Hasan Miraz will lead the Kings.
They have some in-form players in their roster in the form of opener Soumya Sarkar, who has been nominated as vice captain.
Mohammad Ashraful, once the poster boy of @BCBtigers cricket, is returning to the Bangladesh Premier League’s sixth season after serving five-year ban for his involvement in match-fixing in 2013.https://t.co/NqL8uDjjNV#BCBTIGERS #TIGERS #BCB #BANGLADESH #CRICKET #ASHRAFUL #BPL— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) January 4, 2019
Experienced tor-order batsmen Mominul Haque and Shahriar Nafees are also there for Rajshahi.
Mustafizur Rahman will lead the Kings’ pace attack with his left-arm bowling.
So all the preparations have been taken as four teams will play on day one, while the remaining three teams will take the field the following day.
This year’s BPL promises more excitement with some renowned foreign players like De Villiers, Hales, Gayle, Steve Smith and David Warner.
The local players will also play an important role, and will eye a good performance with the World Cup 2019 looming on the horizon.
Let the battle begin then!