About the Match
The fifth season of the BPL is about to get underway and the initial few matches for every team is going to be about finding their best combinations and figuring out which players are in form. They are also a chance to get some early momentum into the campaign to try and avoid the mad rush for points that inevitably happens near the end of the group stages.
The two teams in action, the Rajshahi Kings, and the Rangpur Riders should ensure an exciting beginning to the tournament.
The runners-up of last year’s BPL have managed to retain the core of their team from last year for this edition as well. They have also added some big names to the batting order in order to plug some gaps that were visible in their team last year.
Batsmen like Luke Wright, Lendl Simmons, and Mushfiqur Rahim will add plenty of depth to their batting lineup. Wright is one of the foremost T20 mercenaries going around while Lendl Simmons often gets overlooked in the plethora of other West Indian T20 batting stars.
Wright would like to add some Asian success to his T20 record while Simmons boats of a wonderful IPL record and will be the batsman that we will be on the lookout for. Mushfiqur Rahim played a few good innings in South Africa and will be relieved to once again pad up in familiar conditions.
Mominul Haque and Mehedy Hasan are two more highly talented local players that will definitely find their place in the middle order alongside overseas players like Samit Patel, Darren Sammy, and possibly James Franklin.
A reinforced top order should be able to paper over the cracks in this middle order while the presence of plenty of all-rounders will give the captain a lot of flexibility and options.
Is there any bigger draw in cricket than a rampaging Chris Gayle? Now, what if he is paired up with Brendon McCullum? It is difficult to imagine the plight of the bowlers if both of these two players get going against them. That is not an immediate concern for the Rajshahi Kings though as Brendon McCullum is not going to be available for the first few matches.
Samuel Badree, among the highest rated spinners in the game, is also in the squad and should find himself playing a central role on pitches that almost always have something for the spinners.
The two West Indian’s are likely to have Ravi Bopara, Thisara Perera, and David Willey as the other overseas players in the squad, although coach Tom Moody could have a few surprises up his sleeve. Johnson Charles could also be an option in place of Willey.
The bowling for the Rangpur Riders will be led by Mashrafe Mortaza and Rubel Hossain, both international bowlers of class with experienced local spinners also in the squad.
The Riders seem to have most of the bases covered but just need a couple of local players to find batting form and provide those extra 20-30 runs consistently. We think the all-round skills of Bopara and Perera will be crucial to the success of this team since both the players are capable of bowling their full quota of overs and providing the impetus in the late overs consistently.
Their biggest strength, a top-order that goes relentlessly at the opposition, could also be their biggest weakness if the ploy fails to come off as the middle order following it could fall apart under pressure.
Pitch and Conditions
The weather of forecast to be sunny, relatively pleasant and clear. Players may have to worry about dew in the evening but that is a problem that both teams will face and so things should even out. The pitch at Sylhet should be flat with low bounce and aid bowlers that change up their pace frequently.
The presence of five overseas players in the playing eleven will even things out across the league and make every match competitive. We are going to back the heavily stacked Rangpur Riders in the first game.
Back the Rangpur Riders to win