Runner-up side from the last edition, Barisal Bulls will start their journey this season taking on Chittagong Vikings. Captained by Bangladesh’s test skipper Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bulls are looking forward to making it through the next round.
But their start of the mission won’t be an easy one as they are going to face the Vikings first, a side looking much formidable with a number of big names from both home and abroad in the squad.
Lead by in-form Bangladeshi opener Tamim Iqbal, the ‘Port City’ side will feature overseas stars Chris Gayle, Dwain Smith, Shoaib Malik, Grant Elliott, Jeevan Mendis, Mohammad Nabi as well as locals like Taskin Ahmed, Anamul Haque, Abdur Razzak.
Tamim is in tremendous form with bat as he has scored 271 runs in the last ODI series against England with an average of 57.75. He was the 3rd highest run scorer of the last BPL with 279 runs from 13 matches. The Chittagong boy has shown his captaincy skill as he was in-charge of bowling and fielding change during the final session of the 2nd test against England last week which brought Bangladesh a historic 108-runs win.
In the batting line up a decent partnership from Tamim-Anamul may give them a solid start on which likes of Smith, Malik, Elliott, Jahurul can put up a defendable total.
Vikings have plenty of options to rotate their bowling line-up. In addition to Taskin, they have Sussex’s English paceman Tymal Mills who is looking forward to proving his limited over potential. Srilankan allrounder Chaturanga De Silva may play a vital role as he took 30 wickets from 14 matches of the last Dhaka Premier League. With veteran Abdur Razzaq, left-arm spinner Saqlain Sajib will try to extend his brilliance with ball from the last DPL.
However, Mushfiqur’s Barisal will try to encounter their star-studded opposition mainly with local recruits. The captain himself is still the top scorer of this tournament, combined all three previous seasons. Shahriar Nafees, Shamsur Rahman, Dhiman Ghosh are the likes regularly scoring in domestic leagues. Promising all rounder from BCB’s high performance unit, Mahedi hasan can come in handy. Last season’s top wicket (21) taker Abu Hayder Rony from Comilla is joining Barisal this time. He will line-up with national team pacer Al-Amin Hossain and left-arm spinner Taijul Islam.
From their overseas list, Carlos Brathwaite -Caribbean hero from the last World T20 final- will seek to regain his all-round form here. Srilankan all-rounder Thisara Perera is also a coveted choice in T20 leagues these years.
If inclement weather does not interrupt the play, an exciting battle can take place at Mirpur.