Rangpur want to defend title as Khulna hope for good run

Published: January 03, 2019 21:00:02

The head coach of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) defending champions Rangpur Riders Tom Moddy said on Thursday his side was ready to defend the title in the upcoming season slated to begin on January 05, reports UNB.

Rangpur started their preparation camp earlier in the day but their captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was not present as he attended the oath-taking ceremony of newly-elected parliament members.

"We are fully aware it is a strong competition. All the teams are very well-balanced. What happened last year was great for us as a new franchise. We know that we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. Suddenly finding ourselves winning a game is not easy. It is a long road," Moody told reporters.

Rangpur's hope to win the BPL title in the back-to-back season could be boosted by the inclusion of AB de Villiers and Alex Hales.

"It is great. We have AB for about seven games and Alex Hales for the whole tournament. We have a number of good local and international players. It is not going to be an individual that will help win the tournament. It is going to be a collective effort," he said.

"We will be relying on all our domestic and international players to step up when their opportunity comes. An individual can influence and win a game from time to time, it is more a team effort that wins championships," the coach said.

Mashrafe will lead the Riders for the second consecutive season.

Rangpur will start their BPL campaign on the first day of the contest facing Chittagong Vikings in the opening match. The match will be held at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium at 12:30pm.

Meanwhile, the head coach of Khulna Titans Mahela Jayawardene said on Thursday he was optimistic that his team would perform well in the latest edition of Bangladesh Premiere League (BPL).

Titans started their preparation camp earlier in the day, only a day before BPL is scheduled to kick off.

"We have to take one game at a time," Jayawardene said.

"We played good cricket [last year], but unfortunately, we couldn't get through from the playoffs. Hopefully, we can go a bit further this time," said the coach.

Last season, Khulna finished third in the points table with seven wins in 12 matches in the league phase. Mahmudullah Riyad was their key player.

Jayawardene said that the team's mindset was different this time.

"We rely on team effort. We had a good season last year. Guys were all contributing. We still feel that we can win matches if we perform well as a unit," he said.

Khulna have Lasith Malinga, Carlos Brathwaite and Brendon Taylor, along with Mahmudullah Riyad and Taijul Islam.

They also roped in Ali Khan, a USA cricketer, who impressed in several T20 leagues around the globe. The coach was optimistic about him.

"We are excited to have him and Lasith together. He can learn as well. Ali is quite exciting. He has just started the leagues, so he is inexperienced in that manner. He is quite keen to learn from Bangladesh conditions and quality opposition. We are glad to have him in the Titans' abode," he added.

Although Khulna do not have many stars in their squad, coach Jayawardene is confident that the local players will do well.

"The local guys are very good. We have had a look at them before buying them. We did our homework," he said.

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