This article was published in the January issue of Sports Tribune magazine
Chattogram Challengers started the tournament in impressive fashion as they won five out of six matches in the first phase.
But they lost thrice in their remaining half a dozen group stage matches to finish with 16 points, and were thus pitted in the Eliminator.
They dominated the Eliminator against mighty Dhaka Platoon and won convincingly by seven wickets.
In the Qualifier 2 however, just when they appeared set for victory, Rajshahi Royals captain Andre Russell wrecked havoc.
Russell played one of the most devastating innings in BPL history in pursuit of a challenging target as Chattogram came unstuck at the end.
The Challengers missed the services of skipper Mahmudullah in the early stages of the tournament as the experienced campaigner was nursing an injury.
@RajshahiRoyals lifted the BBPL trophy after defeating @KhulnaTigersBD in the grand finale of the seven-team tournament on January 17 at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.https://t.co/ns6ijI5yZ7#RAJSHAHI #ROYALS #KHULNATIGERS #KHULNA #TIGERS #RAJSHAHIROYALS— Dhaka Tribune Sports (@Sport_DT) February 6, 2020
Another veteran Imrul Kayes though more than made up for Mahmudullah’s absence, scoring 442 runs in 13 innings.
Imrul was in fine form, hammering four fifties and scoring his runs at a good strike rate of 132.33, including 22 sixes.
National discard Nasir Hossain was a major letdown.
Once known as Mr Finisher, Nasir has lost his way in the domestic arena and it was clearly evident in the BBPL, where he tallied just 39 runs in five innings before losing his place in the side.
One of the most eye-catching calls from the players’ draft was that of Chris Gayle, also known as the Universe Boss.
The legendary West Indian’s participation initially created confusion but later it was revealed that the left-hander would only play a few games in the business stage of the competition.
Gayle did perform in the matches in which he was available, including an attacking half century in the Qualifier 2 against the Royals.
But as it transpired, Russell’s sheer muscle power took Rajshahi to the final at the expense of the port city outfit.
Among other overseas cricketers, Caribbean duo Chadwick Walton and Lendl Simmons did well, scoring 316 runs in 14 innings and 293 in nine innings respectively.
In the bowling department, the experienced Rubel Hossain was his usual dependable self, bagging 20 wickets at an economy rate of 7.31, but the brightest highlight was young pacer Mehedi Hasan Rana.
The 23-year old left-armer picked up 18 wickets in only 10 innings with best figure of 4/23.
The youngster though was sprayed all over the park by Russell in the Qualifier 2 where the former bled 23 runs in one eventful over.
Such an experience and match situation however, will only serve as a learning curve for the southpaw in the future.