The Bangladesh Premier League is the national cricket league of Bangladesh, featuring a dozen teams who play in both a Round Robin and Knockout format. The league is broadcast all over the world and is growing in popularity year on year, providing a great base for local players to ply their trade.
With a Twenty20 setup, the Bangladesh Premier League began with a player auction, where players were allowed to acquire players. During this window players can be signed from other teams, trades can be made and unattached players can also be signed. Each team needs to consist of 18 players and there should be a maximum of 8 international players, with 5 of these playing in a single match.
The first round of games were contested in a round-robin format, with each team playing each other twice, both home and away. The top four teams at the end of this stage advance through to a knockout semi-final, with the winner being the one who progresses to and claims victory in the final.
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The first Bangladesh Premier League was launched in February 2012, following a grand opening ceremony. A lot of time and money had been thrown at the league and hopes were high, with things getting off to a good start. There were 33 games scheduled, but these were to be split between just 6 teams and played at just two stadiums, based in Dhaka, where the league is headquartered, and Chittagong.
As of late 2015, there have only been three seasons in the Bangladesh Premier League. During the first season, in 2012, the Dhaka Gladiators claimed victory, beating the Barisal Burners in the final. This is despite the fact that the gladiators had only finished third in the round robin, with the Burners behind them and with the top two teams, the Dumont Rajshahi and the Khulna Royal Bengals, failing to progress beyond the semi-finals.
The Dhaka Gladiators repeated their success the following year, this time finishing at the top of the league during the group stage, before beating the Sylhet Royals in the semi-finals and the Chittagong Kings in the final.
There was no league during 2014, as money issues forced them to put things on hold for a year. It returned in 2015 though, with a handful of new franchises added to the mix, and with a new format to create room for all of these. All of the franchises from the previous years were retired, with new ones taking their place. Many of these were simply the old teams with new names, including the Dhaka Gladiators, who became the Dhaka Dynamites.
The Bangladesh Premier League is shown in many cricketing countries, including the United Kingdom and Ireland, where Premier Sports, the pay-per-view channel, own the rights. MTV Sports show the games in Sri Lanka, GEO Super in Pakistan, Neo Prime in India and in Bangladesh it is shown on both Bangladesh Television and Channel 9.
Due to the money needed to purchase a Bangladesh Premier League franchise, and the exposure that it can bring, many of them are owned by large companies. From 2015 onwards this includes the Beximco Group, who own Dhaka Dynamites, the DBL Group, who own Chittagong Vikings, and Axiom Technologies, who own the Barisal Bulls. The official sponsor of the Bangladesh Premier League is Prime Bank Limited, a private commercial bank based in Bangladesh.
The Dhaka Gladiators set a number of records during the first two years, in which they dominated the league. They hold several “highest” total records, and the Barisal Burners also claimed a few high score game records during the first couple of years. The Barisal Burners also hold the record for the most wickets taken in the shortest time, which came in a match against the Sylhet Royals during the 2012 season.
Ahmed Shehzad of the Burners notched the highest runs during 2012, scoring 486 in total, whilst Shahid Afridi of the Gladiators had the best strike-rate.
The biggest victories to date in the Bangladesh Premier League include the 2013 match between the Chittagong Kings and the Sylhet Royals, with the former beating the latter by 119 runs. In the season before this, the Barisal Burners also triumphed over the Sylhet Royals, beating them by 10 wickets, whilst the victory with the most amount of balls remaining also came in the 2012 season, this time during the game between the Chittagong Kings and the Barisal Burners.
One of the smallest victories also involved the Sylhet Royals, during a game against the Barisal Burners. There was just one wicket in this contest, whilst a game between the Rangpur Riders and the Chittagong Kings is also on the list of smallest victories, with no balls remaining by the end.