After a month filled with cricketing action, the sixth edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) has reached its finale with Dhaka Dynamites set to battle it out with Comilla Victorians for the coveted prize in the final at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.
There will be added excitement as the two premier Bangladesh stalwarts, Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, will feature for Dhaka and Comilla respectively and the fans can expect some tactical battles between the duo. While Shakib will be at the helm of Dhaka, Comilla skipper Imrul Kayes acknowledged that Tamim was an integral part of the team as he often relies on the insights of the dashing opener during crunch situations.
The fans should expect some cricketing brilliance from the aforementioned stalwarts as Tamim remains the top scorer for his side in this BPL with 326 runs and two fifties in 13 matches. Shakib, meanwhile, shone with the bowl as he remains this edition's joint highest wicket-taker with 22 wickets in 14 matches alongside Sylhet Sixers' Taskin Ahmed and Rangpur's Mashrafe.
Shakib and Tamim aside, the two franchises possess quite a few game-changers. Dhaka will presumably be banking on their all-rounder quartet -- Shakib, Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine. While Pollard's 62 off 26 balls against Rangpur in the early stage of the tournament remains the only highlight for the West Indian, Russell and Narine have proved their worth on multiple occasions. Narine's 18 wickets in 14 matches sees him among the top wicket-takers while his 279 runs saw some quickfire innings at the top. Russell, who usually comes down the order, is relied upon to provide the finishing touch, like he did with his 19-ball 40 against Rangpur in the second qualifier to see his side over the line comfortably. He has also proved handy with the ball, scalping 14 wickets so far. Dhaka will also be expecting pacer Rubel Hossain, who has taken 21 wickets -- the second-highest in the list -- to continue his excellent form.
The presence of Russell and Pollard in the outfield should also not be underestimated as they save runs and take blinding catches, a marked advantage in a tournament that has not seen the highest standard of fielding.
Comilla, on the other hand, as mentioned by coach Mohammad Salahuddin, will be relying on the local talents of Tamim, Mohammad Saifuddin and Mahedi Hasan despite having some top foreign all-rounders like Shahid Afridi and Thisara Perera in their ranks.
“We have good all-rounders but Dhaka is ahead in this department. But our team combination is very good. The most important thing is that the local players are doing well. To win this competition, local players need to perform. I think the main strength of my team is local players.” said Salahuddin in Mirpur yesterday.
All-rounder Saifuddin has shown his match-winning capabilities for Comilla and he has taken 18 wickets in 12 matches. Comilla have also relied on another young local prospect in Mahedi, who returned match-winning figures of four for 22 against Sylhet Sixers in the league stage while opening for Comilla.
Comilla got the better of Dhaka in their two league matches in this edition. Both were close encounters with the Victorians triumphing by seven runs and one run respectively. The stiff competition augurs well for today's finale being a humdinger.