The Bangladesh Premier League 2019 is about to get underway and we have some of the best players in the business making their way to the subcontinent. The BPL had a bit of a rocky start but has since established itself as one of the better T20 competitions around the world. The BPL has also been credited with helping Bangladesh cricket improve and increase the talent pool at their disposal.
This year, for BPL 2019, the teams have strengthened their squads and added some big name players to the roster. We expect a much closer Bangladesh Premier League T20 tournament than ever before.
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Let us take a look at the squads, strengths, and weaknesses, of the BPL squads for 2019.
Last season of the Bangladesh Premier League turned out to be heartbreaking for the Comilla Victorians. They were splendid in the group stages, winning 9 out of the 12 matches that they played. No other team won those many matches and the Comilla Victorians appeared to be on course for their second BPL title.
As it turned out, the Comilla Victorians were thrashed by the Dhaka Dynamites and the Rangpur Riders eventually failing to make it to the final of the BPL.
The biggest addition that the Comilla Victorians have made to their squad is that of Steve Smith. The former Australian captain is serving a ban for his role in ball tampering and is ineligible to play international cricket.
He was also banned to play from the BPL, but rules have been relaxed to facilitate his entry into the tournament. Steve Smith has been a gun player for several IPL franchises in the past and should be able to contribute for Comilla Victorians as well.
With quality players like Shahid Afridi, Thisara Perera, and Shoaib Malik also in the squad, the Comilla Victorians are not going to be lacking for international quality. Among the Bangladeshi players, we believe that Imrul Kayes is going to be the player to watch out for this BPL season.
Strengths: Excellent batsmen (Overseas and Bangladeshi) in the squad, some world-class all-rounders lend balance as well
Weaknesses: The bowling department looks weak, particularly in terms of good Bangladeshi spinners.
BPL 2019 Prediction: 4th
The Sylhet Sixers is one of the sides that intrigues us the most in this edition of the Bangladesh Premier League. They have signed David Warner and named him to lead the side as well. It is a big call when looked at in terms of the controversy surrounding the Australian but it makes complete sense from a purely cricketing perspective.
David Warner has led his IPL franchise to multiple titles and his batting thrives when batting under pressure. The responsibility of leadership seems to bring the best in him and we think he is going to shine for the Sylhet Sixers as well.
David Warner also has Imran Tahir as another class player to help him win the BPL title. Tahir is going to busy with international commitments at the moment and will only join the side towards the end of the Bangladesh Premier League.
The Sylhet Sixers also have some aggressive batsmen like Sabbir Rahman, Andre Fletcher, and Fabien Allen in their squad to boost the batting as well. The Sylhet Sixers have signed some of the biggest names in T20 cricket but have not just limited themselves to batsmen like some of the other franchises.
Sandeep Lamichanne, Mohammad Nawaz, and Sohail Tanvir are also a part of the Sylhet Sixers. Taskin Ahmed, Nasir Hossain, and Liton Das are all first choice Bangladesh cricketers which would like to use the BPL to further their reputations.
One of the players in the squad that we are most excited about is Nicholas Pooran. He had a spectacular CPL season and has been picked up in the IPL as well. Nicholas Pooran could be the X-factor that this side needs.
The Sylhet Sixers have a nice balance of talented Bangladeshi batsmen and some of the best T20 players in the world. We have very high expectations of the team in this BPL season.
Strengths: A superb collection of overseas players, top quality Bangladesh players, good balance between batsman and bowlers
Weaknesses: Some temperamental characters make the side a bit unpredictable, overseas players may not be immediately adaptable to Bangladeshi conditions
BPL 2019 Prediction: 3rd
The Rajshahi Kings were able to win just four matches last season and finishing up second from last. They have a lot of work to do if they are to be able to improve this season of the BPL.
It looks like the Rajshahi Kings have made some interesting additions to their squad from last season. Soumya Sarkar can provide the quality they are looking for at the top of the order. He is a potential leader in the side and has been in much-improved form over the last year or so.
There is no question about the talent that Soumya Sarkar possesses but his consistency has always been something to worry about. Rajshahi Kings will need desperately for Soumya Sarkar to be able to score runs at the top in most of the matches even though there are some excellent overseas players in the side as well.
Mohammad Hafeez is the most obvious option to open the inning along with Soumya Sarkar. The Pakistani all-rounder has been cleared to bowl in international cricket and we have no doubt he will be rolling his arm over during the BPL this season.
Mominul Haque is another quality Bangladeshi batsman in the top-3 while Mihidy Hasan Miraz can lay claim to being the best spinner in the country. This riches of quality Bangladeshi players is a rarity in BPL teams and should theoretically make the Rajshahi Kings a force to be reckoned with.
If their overseas players can also contribute with some telling performances then the side can have a good run in the BPL. Laurie Evans, Christiaan Jonker, and Seekkuge Prasanna are all T20 staples around the world and have enough experience to be able to adjust to the demands of the BPL.
The side also has Mustafizur Rahman and Arafat Sunny as two more quality Bangladeshi players in the side. Is there any fast bowler in Bangladesh that is better at the death than Mustafizur Rahman? We don’t think so.
Strengths: Quality Bangladeshi players which make the side inherently strong
Weaknesses: Not the strongest roster of overseas players, lacks match winning options
BPL 2019 Prediction: 5th
Khulna Titans were very good in the group stages last season, managing to finish third in the league table with seven wins from twelve matches. The benefitted from some very strong performances from their leading players and would have been disappointed at not being able to go further into the tournament last season.
They have the opportunity to do better this time.
The Khulna Titans are led by our favorite Bangladesh players, Mahmudullah. He is a player that stands up and performs when the going gets tough and can be counted upon to do the difficult jobs. Batting at the death, bowling the pressure overs, and putting himself in fielding positions where he will be peppered by balls is something that is expected from Mahmudullah.
We believe this kind of leadership will spread to the other players in the side as well. The only problem is that Mahmudullah is not the most experienced captain and that can sometimes show up in his tactics. He needs the experienced players around him and the coach to provide him with some guidance.
The Khulna Titans also suffer from not having the best of Bangladeshi players in their squad. Taijul Islam is one of the few players with international exposure and will provide a good spinning option but the bulk of the work will have to be done by the overseas players.
The presence of David Wiese, Brendan Taylor, Yasir Shah, Paul Stirling, Dawid Malan, and Lasith Malinga provides the Khulna Titans with a lot of options to help balance the side.
We believe Paul Stirling is overrated, Brendan Taylor is a little past his prime but Dawid Malan, David Wiese, and Lasith Malinga are still good enough to walk into most T20 sides. Yasir Shah is busy with Pakistani commitments but he is a huge asset to have once he becomes available.
Strengths: Mahmudullah is one of the best Bangladeshi players and an inspirational player, a promising crop of international players
Weaknesses: Lack of quality Bangladeshi players, some international players aging and may be past their best
BPL 2019 Prediction: 6th
The Chittagong Vikings finished dead last in the previous season of the BPL and there was a big question mark about their continuing participation in the BPL this year. As things turned out, the Bangladesh Premier League is not going to shrink further and will remain at seven teams for the time being.
The biggest coup that the Chittagong Vikings pulled off was to sign Mushfiqur Rahim before the draft. As one of the best batsmen in the country and one of the most experienced players, Mushfiqur Rahim’s presence will add a lot of strength to the side.
Luke Ronchi, Sikandar Raza, and Najibullah Zadran were all a part of the Bangladesh Premier League last season and continue to be a part of the Chittagong Vikings. Ronchi has suffered a dip in his returns around the globe but Raza is a very useful player thanks to his smart batting and ability to contribute with the ball as well. Mohammad Shahzad is also a proven T20 player and a major threat at the top of the order.
Cameron Delport is a top-quality South African player that had an okay Mzansi Super League and played the T10 competition as well. If he can give the Vikings some consistent starts at the top of the table then they should do better in BPL 2019 than they did last season.
Mohammad Ashraful is back in the squad after serving his suspension for match-fixing and that is likely to attract a lot of attention to the side.
Strengths: Power hitters at the top of the order, experienced batsmen in the middle.
Weaknesses: Bowling unit is quite weak. Lacks a genuine fast bowler and some top-quality spinners.
BPL 2019 Prediction: 7th
The Rangpur Riders finished fourth in the BPL League table but then peaked at the right time and ended up winning the BPL 2017. It was a performance that was dominated by individual brilliance including by Chris Gayle during the final stages of the tournament.
It is no surprise really then that the Rangpur Riders have put together a squad that is filled with match winners. Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Alex Hales, Ravi Bopara, and Rilee Rossouw form what is easily the strongest batting lineup in the BPL.
All of these players cannot, however, play in the same side and that is why some quality batsmen will have to sit out. Mashrafe Mortaza, the captain, will also have to figure out a way where he is able to strengthen the bowling lineup as required as well.
Mortaza himself will lead the bowling lineup along with Sheldon Cottrell, Abul Hasan, Sahiful Islam, Nazmul Islam, and Sohag Gazi.
It appears to us that the initial way to go for the Rangpur Riders would be to base their batting on the overseas players and pick Bangladeshi bowlers to contain the opposition. Such one-sided team compositions can sometimes result in a skewed team that can either win big or struggle.
Overall, though, the high quality of the overseas batsmen in the Rangpur Riders squad should help it be a dangerous opposition in every single BPL match. A question mark will remain over the fitness of Mashrafe Mortaza because he really seems to be stuck together with tape at this point in time.
Mortaza’s ability to inspire his teammates and be an excellent leader cannot be questioned though. If anyone of the Rangpur Riders superstars can hit form early in the tournament, a second consecutive title cannot be ruled out.
Strengths: A collection of world-class batsmen
Weaknesses: Team balance, bowling attack
BPL 2019 Prediction: Runner Ups
There has been no team more successful in the BPL than the Dhaka Dynamites. They have won the BPL title three times in the past and are one of the favorites entering this year’s Bangladesh Premier League as well.
The biggest reason for their strength is the abundance of world-class all-rounders the side has its disposal. As England has shown in the international arena, building a resilient and successful side requires players that can contribute in more than one department.
The Dhaka Dynamites have Shakib Al Hasan, Andre Russell, and Kieron Pollard in their squad. All three of them are capable of bowling their four overs and batting pretty much anywhere in the side. Kieron Pollard bowled fewer overs than we would have expected in the Caribbean Premier League but batted up the order and had a huge impact.
We hope to see him in the same position this time around as well because he is too often wasted low down the order. The Dhaka Dynamites also have Hazratullah Zazai in their side. The Afghan sensation smashed six sixes in one over during the Afghanistan Premier League and played a few other match-winning innings as well.
With bowlers like Rubel Hossain, Sunil Narine, and Shuvagata Hom in the side as well, the Dhaka Dynamites are pretty well served in the bowling department as well. It must also be remembered that having Shakib Al Hasan and Andre Russell in the side is like having two extra players in the side.
A minor concern for the side will be the fact that both Shakib Al Hasan and Andre Russell are returning from injury layoffs. They may be a little tentative during the first half of the tournament to avoid any injuries because that would catastrophic to the Dhaka Dynamites chances of success.
Strengths: World-class all-rounders, T20 experience, and a winning culture.
Weaknesses: Few key players returning from injury, death bowling might be an issue.
BPL 2019 Prediction: Winners
The Dhaka Dynamites are once again the favorites to win the title because of the amazing array of all-rounders at their disposal. No other team has the flexibility and match winners in all aspects of the game that Dhaka has.
Some other bets we like:
Top Run Scorer: David Warner
Top Wicket Taker: Mehidy Hasan Miraz