The Dhaka phase of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League will begin today with West Indian Twenty20 superstar Chris Gayle set to play his first match of the ongoing tournament.
Gayle arrived in the capital on Monday to play for the Chattogram Challengers franchise and will be available for selection in his side’s match against table-toppers Rajshahi Kings today.
Chattogram, who are currently second in the points-table despite having the equal 14 points as the front-runners, will also see the return of their regular skipper Mahmudullah for their heavyweight clash at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium which will begin on 6:30pm.
Gayle’s participation in BPL7 came under doubt after the opener claimed that his name was put up for the players’ draft without his approval.
But both Gayle and Chattogram later announced that the enigmatic West Indian will play for the team from the final Dhaka phase of the competition.
The 40-year old has a tremendous record in BPL, having struck five hundreds in the competition with his highest being 146 not out in the final of the 2017 edition for the Rangpur Riders against Dhaka Dynamites.
Gayle’s stellar record in the BPL excited Chattogram wicketkeeper batsman Nurul Hasan as he hoped that his inclusion will help Chattogram take their winning momentum to the play-offs.
‘His [Gayle] record in BPL is very good. When he plays for a team it creates an effect on the opposing team. It is definitely good for the team that he is in Dhaka,’ Nurul told reporters n Mirpur on Monday.
Rajshahi spinner Taijul Islam claimed that they were not worried about facing off against Gayle but felt that the West Indian’s performance will play an important part in the match’s outcome.
‘Gayle won’t hit a century in every match, he could also get out for a duck. But still he is a big player and we should respect him. The match may go differently, depending whether he gets set or not,’ Taijul said.
In the other match of the day, fifth placed Cumilla Warriors will take on bottom-placed Sylhet Thunders to keep their direct knock-out phase qualification chances alive, with the match starting at 1:30pm.
Both the matches will be telecasted live by GTV and Maasranga TV.
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