Dhaka, Jan 5 (UNB) — Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) defending champions Rangpur Riders will take on Chittagong Vikings in the first match of the latest edition of the league.
Before the tournament, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, the Rangpur Riders captain, said they are confident about a good start.
“We have a balanced team. We won the title last year, so there is a high expectation around. But I think we have a better team compared to the last one,” he told reporters on Friday during practice session.
Chris Gayle played the pivotal role for the Riders in the last season. He hit 146 off 69 balls, helping the Riders beat Dhaka Dynamites by 57 runs.
The Caribbean batting-star will feature for the Riders this year as well though he is yet to join the camp. But a source confirmed UNB that Gayle might come before the first match and will take the field.
Riders secured the service of Alex Hales, who already joined them and is set to play from the first match. They also have AB de Villiers in their team but he will join from the Sylhet phase of the league, scheduled to start from January 15.
Mashrafe won four of last five BPL seasons as the captain which might be a plus point for the Riders. But, Masrhafe believes it is nothing but a matter of pressure on the team.
“We always had to start the tournament with a lot of pressure, especially when you go to defend the title. There is no guarantee of winning the title just by assembling a good team on paper. We have to start the tournament in a positive manner,” Mashrafe said.
Chittagong Vikings are confident this time although they finished the last edition at the bottom of the points table.
Mushfiqur Rahim, the former captain of Bangladesh team, will lead the Vikings. “We have some young cricketers in our squad who can change the match at any time and who are effective in the T20 format. We are eager to do something memorable this time,” he said on Friday during the practice.