Rangpur Riders were deserving winners of this year's BPL, and not only because of their hired guns. They peaked at the right time, razing their playoff opponents in one big performance after another. They took down a youthful Khulna Titans side in the eliminator, before riding out the controversial two-day second qualifier against Comilla Victorians. In the final, they never pressed the panic button as Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum burned down Dhaka Dynamites, the pre-tournament favourites.
As usual, Mashrafe Mortaza led the team superbly while contributing with his all-round abilities. He was the team's best bowler, regularly giving them early breakthroughs and standing up when the opposition got big on them.
Rangpur also got success through local players like Mohammad Mithun, Nazmul Islam and Sohag Gazi who performed better than expected. Ravi Bopara and Rubel Hossain also provided important runs and wickets. It was also a maiden BPL title for Tom Moody, in his first season coaching in the tournament.
Gayle and McCullum finally came good in the playoffs, as did Johnson Charles. Mithun and Bopara were their consistent performers in the league stage while among the bowlers, Mashrafe and Nazmul were the most effective.
What didn't work
Rangpur missed Thisara Perera after he had to leave for international duty. Kusal Perera, Adam Lyth and Ziaur Rahman also didn't fit their plans while Sam Hain remained untested.
Tips for 2018
The maiden BPL title should motivate Rangpur to contract some more top T20 cricketers in the next season.