The chances of the BPL final being a one-sided affair are fairly high. If even one of Dhaka Dynamites’ departments – either the top-order batsmen or the spin bowlers – fire full throttle, then Rangpur Riders will struggle in the finale. At the same time, if Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum or Johnson Charles repeat what they did earlier in the playoffs, Dhaka could very well be out of the contest quite early.
Evin Lewis, Joe Denly, Shahid Afridi and Sunil Narine have struck 56 sixes among them, and have batted at a strike-rate of 144.61. Every time they have fired with the bat, Dhaka have cruised to victory. Afridi and Narine also form part of Dhaka’s three-man spin attack including the captain Shakib Al Hasan, and the trio has been relentless through the season. Shakib is the tournament’s leading wicket-taker while Afridi already has two four-wicket hauls. Narine, meanwhile, has been the tournament’s most frugal bowler after Rashid Khan, conceding at five per over in 11 matches.
Gayle, Charles and McCullum have come late to the party, but they have peaked at the right time for Rangpur. Gayle and Charles have both scored hundreds in the qualifiers while McCullum hammered nine sixes in his whirlwind 78 in the second of those matches. Gayle has a bit of an ankle injury concern but according to Mashrafe Mortaza, it is nothing he can’t shake off.
All in all, it promises to be an intriguing battle between the two teams’ spin bowlers and their top orders. Dhaka are the clear favourites, but momentum can act in funny ways.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
Dhaka Dynamites WWWLW
Rangpur Riders WWLWL
In the spotlight
Abu Hider, the left-arm pace bowler, has won Shakib’s praise for doing a good job in their spin-heavy attack. Hider has taken 15 wickets at an average of 18.20.
Nazmul Islam is an uncapped left-arm spinner who has a unique celebration style, but apart from that, he has been Rangpur’s most effective bowler in the middle overs. He may play a crucial role when Dhaka bat.
Dhaka is likely to stick to their XI that crushed Comilla Victorians in the first Qualifier. There is no merit in meddling with a successful bowling attack although they might try to make room for Mohammad Amir.
Dhaka Dynamites (probable): 1 Mehedi Maruf, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Joe Denly, 4 Kieron Pollard, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Mosaddek Hossain, 8 Sunil Narine, 9 Jahurul Islam (wk), 10 Abu Hider, 11 Mohammad Saddam
After the win in the second Qualifier, Rangpur are unlikely to make any changes for the final.
Rangpur Riders (probable): 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Johnson Charles, 3 Brendon McCullum, 4 Mohammad Mithun (wk), 5 Ravi Bopara, 6 Nahidul Islam, 7 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 8 Sohag Gazi, 9 Isuru Udana, 10 Nazmul Islam, 11 Rubel Hossain
Pitch and conditions
The Mirpur pitches have been mostly under covers due to the steady drizzle of the last few days. There has been some improvement in the bounce of the pitches, according to some players. Rain is likely to stay away on the evening of the final.
Stats and trivia
Sunil Narine’s economy rate of 5.00 runs per over this season is the lowest among bowlers to have bowled at least 40 overs in a single T20 tournament.
Brendon McCullum and Johnson Charles added 151 runs for the second wicket in their last game – now a new BPL record for that wicket – breaking the 150-run stand between Shahriar Nafees and Dawid Malan in 2016.
“We have a good bowling attack, and apart from the three spinners, [Abu Hider] Rony and Mosaddek [Hossain] has also bowled well this season. Our batting too has found consistency now. I think we have the overall consistency and momentum, and we will try to win the final.”
Dhaka captain Shakib Al Hasan on how his spin attack is shaping up
“Among the four teams in the playoffs, we were the least favourite.”
Mashrafe Mortaza, the Rangpur Riders captain, about their progress into the final