Final - Dhaka Dynamites v Rangpur Riders
12th December, 18:00 local, 12:00 GMT, Shere Bangla National Stadium
As the Bangladesh Premier League 2018 edition steps into the concluding stage, it will be Rangpur Riders, who will lock horns with Dhaka Dynamites at Shere Bangla National Stadium in the final on Tuesday.
Dhaka have been one of the consistent team in the tournament and has all the right combination to win their fourth title. The newly announced Bangladesh Test captain Shakib Al Hasan has been leading the side from the front and has inspired the star-studded squad with a lot of belief. Evin Lewis with 381 runs tops the leading run-scorer chart while his West Indian team-mates Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine have been handy. The real turnaround though came with the addition of former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi, who is a proven match winner especially in this format and already has 15 wickets and scored 118 runs. The fact that they will be playing the game at their home ground and their experience of featuring in big matches before will further boost their chances in the all-important final.
On the other hand, Rangpur have stormed into the final after reaching play-off for the first time. Unlike Dhaka, Rangpur bank on their batting prowess that has two of the most destructive batsmen at the top. Chris Gayle showed how dangerous he can be in the Eliminator with a blistering century while Brendon McCullum finally managed to come to the party with a 78 run knock in the Qualifier 2 that led the team into the final. Johnson Charles too will be heading into the final brimming with confidence following his unbeaten 105 knock in the Qualifier 2 game against Comilla Victorians that was pivotal in them reaching the final.
Road to Final:
Dhaka Dynamites: After managing to end second in the league stage with seven wins from 12 games, Dhaka trounced Rangpur Riders by 43 runs in the Qualifier 1 game to reach the final.
Rangpur Riders: Rangpur Riders had an indifferent start to the season with three consecutive defeats but managed to end fourth in the table with six wins from 12 games. If it was Gayle's century that helped them complete a win in Eliminator, it was brilliance from Charles and McCullum that saw them through to the final with a 36 run win over Comilla in the Qualifier 2.
Performances in Past Editions:
Dhaka Dynamites: In their four appearances prior to this season, Dhaka have clinched the title in 2012, 2013 and 2016 while finished fourth in the 2015 season. They are by far the dominant team since the inaugural of the tournament.
Rangpur Riders: They finished fifth twice and third once before this season and if they manage to get through Tuesday's encounter, it will be their maiden title win.
Players to watch out for:
Chris Gayle: Though had a quiet season until the play-offs, Gayle showed he can win games single-handedly and all Rangpur will need is their West Indian recruit to have a good game on Tuesday which is sure to put them in a dominant position. He is Rangpur's leading run scorer this season and the third overall with 339 runs from 10 matches with a strike-rate close to 165.
Shahid Afridi: With 15 wickets from seven games and an economy of seven, Afridi has been one of the key performers with the side and the fact that he can double as an impact making batsman will make him a vital component of Dhaka Dynamites side.
Verdict: Dhaka Dynamites are better balanced all-round side and will be favourites with the online cricket betting sites to win the game if they manage to keep the likes of Gayle and McCullum quiet.
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