Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has proved himself as the best captain in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Cricket clinching four titles as captain as his team Rangpur Riders emerged as the new champions dethroning Shakib Al Hasan-led Dhaka Dynamites beating them by 57 runs in the final at the floodlit Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on Tuesday.
As captain, Bangladesh ODI skipper Mashrafe clinched four titles out of total five --- two for Dhaka Gladiators, one each for Comilla Victorians and Rangpur Riders -- while Bangladesh Test and T20 captain Shakib Al Hasan won the remaining title for Dhaka Dynamites in the last season.
Rangpur Riders, which stayed in the title race as the 4th finisher in the seven-team tournament after the league phase securing 12 points from 12 matches with six wins and six losses, smarty reached the final for the first time beating Khulan Titans by eight wickets in the eliminator and league leader Comilla Victorians by 36 runs in the 2nd qualifier on Monday under brilliant captaincy by Mashrafe and as well as for superb batting by Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles and McCullum.
Champions Rangpur Riders were awarded with a prize money of Tk 2 crore while runners-up Dhaka Dynamites received prize money of Tk 75 lakh.
West Indian legendary batsman Chris Gayle, who scored two centuries, including one in the final, was adjudged man of the tournament, player of the match and most exciting player of the final to receive prize money of US$ 5000, 2000 and 1000 respectively in addition to a TVS motorcycle while Nazmul Islam of Rangpur Riders named as the bowler of the final.
State Minister for Youth and Sports Dr Biren Shikder, Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports Arif Khan Joy and BPL Chairman Afzalur Rahman Sinha were, among others, present at the closing function.
Replying to a massive total of 206 runs by Rangpur Riders in the final, Dhaka Dynamites faced an initial batting jolt losing top four wickets -- Mehedi Maruf (0), Joe Denly (0) Evin Lewis (15) and Kieron Pollard (5) -- cheaply for 29 runs in 4.4 overs and they could not make any turnaround. Finally, they could not recover their lapses and scored 149 for 9 in stipulated 20 overs to suffer humiliating defeat.
Number six batsman Jahurul Islam pairing with two down captain Shakib Al Hasan tried their best to repair the early damage scoring 42 runs in the 5th wicket stand and Jahurul again partnering with Sunil Narine scored another 42 in the 8th wicket stand but failed to avoid the huge defeat.
Jahurul Islam contributed team highest 50 runs off 38 balls featuring four fours and two sixes, Shakib contributed 16-ball 26 runs hitting three fours and one six before he was bowled by Nazmul Islam at 71 for 5 in 8.2 overs while Sunil Narine made 15-ball 14 runs with two fours.
Nazmul Islam, Shohag Gazi and Usuru Udana grabbed two wickets each conceding 8, 25 and 32 runs respectively.
Earlier, an entertaining century by West Indian batting sensation Chris Gayle steered new finalist Rangpur Riders to the huge total.
Sent in to bat first, Rangpur Riders made a frustrating start losing the last match centurion Johnson Charles (3) cheaply for five runs in 1.5 overs, but another opener Chris Gayle pairing with Kiwis one down batsman Brendon McCullum guided the team towards the mammoth total for 1 in 20 overs, contributing not out 201 runs in the 2nd wicket stand, the BPL highest stand in any wicket.
Chris Gayle hammered a hurricane innings of unconquered 146 runs, the highest score in the BPL history, playing just 69 balls, featuring five fours and 18 sixes. Later, he was adjudged man of the match.
He also made the record in T20 history scoring 18 sixes in a match to better his previous mark of 17 in the Indian Premier League (IPL). With this, the dashing batsman hit 118 over-boundaries in all editions of BPL.
Gayle completed his overall 5th and 2nd century in the ongoing BPL scoring 100 runs off 57 balls with four fours and 11 sixes, by a single pushing ball in the long on off a Sunil Narine delivery.
One down McCullum, who gave good support to Gayle to make a ton, remained unbeaten on 51 runs off 43 balls hitting four fours and three sixes.
Dhaka Dynamites captain Shakib Al Hasan took the lone wicket of Johnson Charles giving away 26 runs in three overs with one maiden.
Rangpur Riders fielded an unchanged squad which reached their first-ever final eliminating high flying Comilla Victorians in the 2nd qualifier on Monday.
Dhaka Dynamites made one change to their previous squad dropping Mohammad Saddam in place of Khaled Ahmed, who had played three matches in this season.
Dhaka Dynamites: Mehedi Maruf, Evin Lewis, Joe Denly, Kieron Pollard, Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Shahid Afridi, Mosaddek Hossain, Sunil Narine, Jahurul Islam (wk), Abu Hider and Khaled Ahmed
Rangpur Riders: Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Ravi Bopara, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mohammad Mithun, Nahidul Islam, Sohag Gazi, Rubel Hossain, Nazmul Islam and Isuru Udana.