Even after finishing the league stage of the sixth edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) on top of the table, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza's Rangpur Riders could not make it to the final as they lost by five wickets in the second qualifier against Dhaka Dynamites at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
Mashrafe said it was the dearth of all-rounders in the Rangpur squad that played the key role in the franchise's exit in the penultimate stage of the tournament.
Mashrafe is the most successful captain in BPL history having won it four times as captain. He won the first three times in a row playing for Dhaka Gladiators in 2012 and 2013 and for Comilla Victorians in 2015 before guiding Rangpur Riders to the title the last time around.
However, against Dhaka Dynamites, who had the luxury of featuring four top all-rounders -- Shakib Al Hasan, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard -- Rangpur felt the need for such multi-skilled players in the squad.
“Having four all-rounders… it is difficult. Actually it is also difficult for the team who have them because the captain starts having doubt about who to go with during bowling. But they have Russell and Narine; they are world class players and can be the turning point in a game at any moment. So they had this huge advantage. In T20 matches everyone likes to have multi-skilled players in the side who can bat and bowl and also play big shots.”
Mashrafe also felt that Rangpur Riders were missing all-rounders that a team needs to be a balanced side from the very beginning of the tournament.
“We did not have any all-rounder. So we had the gap in the team; a gap for balance in the team from the beginning. It was also there [lack of balance] the previous year too. If you can remember you will see that [Shohag] Gazi opened for the side, I played in number three position. We played in that fashion last year. We had the same problem this year too. In other teams players like [Shahid] Afridi and Thisara [Perera] come to bat at seven or eight but in our team it is me or Farhad Reza who bat there. So there is a big problem there for our team. We managed it till we had AB [de Villiers] and [Alex] Hales but we had problems after they left.”
Although this edition of BPL will not see any more of the fantastic Mashrafe, the national team's ODI skipper gave his fans reason to be hopeful before he left the press conference.
“I always had the desire to play cricket at least for 20 years. Not only international cricket but also tournaments like Dhaka League and BPL: These are big leagues in our country, so I had a desire for a long time to play for 20 years. But I don't know if I can but I do want to.”