The fifth edition of the Bangladesh Premier League will feature seven city-based franchises and is scheduled to run between November 4 and December 12, 2017. Barisal Bulls will not be taking part this year owing to financial issues and the team has been replaced by Sylhet Sixers who did not participate in the previous season. The league stage comprising 46 matches will be played in a double round-robin format, and at the end of it, the top four teams will advance to the playoffs consisting of qualifier 1, the eliminator and qualifier 2. The playoffs and the final will all be played at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.
They are the defending champions and the most successful team of the tournament with three trophies in the bag. Last year, their lethal combination of bowling and batting was the main reason behind their success and it seems that they have come up with a pretty powerful-looking squad this year as well. Captained by one of the best allrounders in world cricket - Shakib Al Hasan - Dhaka Dynamites boast plenty of T20 specialists on their roster who can take them to yet another title triumph. While the likes of Evin Lewis, Rovman Powell and Kumar Sangakkara form the cream of their batting, Mohammad Amir, Sunil Narine, Shahid Afridi and the skipper himself make up a formidable bowling attack.
Runners-up of last year, Rajshahi Kings are one of the most consistent teams of the Bangladesh Premier League. So far, they have played three seasons of the tournament and have made it to the playoffs on each occasion. They are one of the better balanced sides this year with several world-class allrounders among their ranks and don't rely only on one department for a win. In Darren Sammy, Luke Wright, Mustafizur Rahman and Lendl Simmons, the team is loaded with quite a few match-winners who can change the complexion of the game in a span of 2-3 overs. Under the able leadership of Mushfiqur Rahim, Rajshahi Kings are expected to go a long way in this year's BPL.
They did not participate last year and will be making a comeback in this fifth season of the BPL. The team does not have an impressive history in the tournament. They finished sixth in the inaugural edition, then managed to sneak into the top four in 2013 and were ordinary once again in 2015 with fifth position. Led by Sabbir Rahman, Sylhet Sixers have some quality players in their squad. However, there seems to be one major flaw within the team - they don't strike better balance between batting and bowling. Being a unidimensional side, it won't be easy for them to compete with the other well-rounded teams in the tournament.
In their three BPL seasons, Rangpur Riders have managed to qualify for the playoffs just once. In 2015, they finished third in the standings at the end of the tournament and this has been the best result for them so far. The Riders don't have many happy memories of the 2013 and 2016 editions as they ended up fifth on both the occasions. Skippered by Mashrafe Mortaza, the team has roped in many big names of international stature with Chris Gayle, David Willey, Ravi Bopara, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera, Johnson Charles and Samuel Badree as its marquee players. Though Rangpur Riders have drafted their best squad since the league's inception, we don't expect them to break into the top four this year as well.
Dhaka Dynamites have always been up to the mark and they will be the 'team to beat' this year as well. They also have the best win percentage in the tournament with 32 wins in 51 matches. The team is a fine blend of youth and experience which is essential for winning tournaments and it also features several players who hold impressive records in T20 cricket. The Dynamites were crowned champions last year and they look well set to claim their fourth BPL title.
Final Verdict: Back Dhaka Dynamites to win the Bangladesh Premier League 2017.