The Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) is the nation’s number-one domestic cricket league. The competition began in 2012 with six pioneer member teams and has evolved with many changes in the format, member teams, and league regulations over the years. Despite the ups and downs, the league has witnessed in its short existence, it has lasted eight solid seasons, including this year’s edition. Today, it is one of the most-watched premier leagues globally.
Today, the league is contested among seven teams, some of which were not among the six pioneering teams in 2012. Other teams in the league have gone through a series of restructuring, such as a change of ownership over the years.
Overall, the league has steadily grown in prominence over the years, earning a place among the top domestic cricket leagues in the world.
BPL League Organisation
The Bangladesh Premier League is overseen by a governing council elected by the Bangladesh Cricket Board. The league is primarily financed by its member teams. However, like every other league, there are other sources of income, including TV rights, sponsorships, ticket sales, and licensing agreements. At the beginning of the league season, each team gets to choose new players through an annual draft system that involves player exchange and sales between teams. Teams can also decide to retain all their players for the next season.
Except for the 2021 rescheduling and the 2014 match-fixing suspension incident, the competition has been staged successfully annually since its inception in 2012. The competition’s next edition is officially set to take place in January next year, barring unforeseen developments.
Like most top T20 cricket leagues worldwide, the Bangladesh Premier League is played in a home-and-away format. In other words, each team in the league plays every other team twice. The teams are then awarded points based on the outcome of the match. A win is worth two points, a tie is worth one, and a loss is equivalent to no points. Also, if a match is abandoned, the participating teams are each granted one point. After this stage, the top four teams on the league table advance to the next tournament round, while the bottom three are eliminated.
The next round of the competition is the playoffs, which involves a couple of knockout matches that will determine which teams battle it out in the final. The four qualifying teams are paired to play a single elimination match each, and the winners play in the championship final.
This year’s edition of the championship final saw Fortune Barishal lose to Comilla Victorians. The Victorians won their third title with that triumph, denying Fortune Barishal of their first league title after failing to win it in the final on two occasions,
The start of the league in 2012 involved six teams which were increased to seven when the Rangpur Riders franchise was added the following season. However, six club owners and certain players in the league were suspended, and some were expelled from the competition at the end of that season for match-fixing and violating specific league rules. For instance, the then-owners of the Dhaka Gladiators were given a lifetime ban from the league for failing to pay their players’ salaries on time and consistently violating the league’s rules. The league was suspended the next season due to these occurrences and returned in 2015.
Subsequent seasons in the league have seen different teams suspended from the league and change ownership. Currently, the league comprises seven teams:
- Comilla Victorians
- Dhaka Dynamites
- Fortune Barishal
- Chattogram Challengers
- Khulna Tigers
- Rangpur Riders
- Sylhet Strikers.
There are plans to expand the league further to accommodate two more teams.
The Comilla Victorians were not among the pioneer teams in 2012. They joined the BPL in 2015 and won the title that season. They did it again in 2019 and the just concluded edition, bringing their tally to three league titles, the most ever won by a team in league history.
Previously known as the Dhaka Gladiators, Dhaka Dynamites, alongside the Victorians, have recorded the most titles in the league. They were one of the league’s six founding teams and have played in all eight seasons. Before their ownership transition, which resulted in the name change, the team won the first two editions of the league and added the third in 2016.
The Chittagong Vikings were formerly known as the Chittagong Kings until they changed ownership. They have also competed in each of the competition’s eight seasons. Despite this, they have never won the title and have only finished as runners-up once.
The Rangpur Riders have only been part of the league for six seasons, as they only joined in 2013 and did not participate in this year’s edition. In the six seasons played, they have managed to lift the title once in 2017, which was the only time they made it to the final.
The Khulna Tigers were also one of the 2012 pioneer teams, and like the Vikings, they have yet to be able to lift the league title. The team did not also participate in the 2019/20 edition of the competition.
They are also one of the pioneer teams who have yet to win the league title. The team debuted as the Sylhet Royals but was suspended in 2016 before returning to the league as the Sylhet Sixers in 2017. They have only made the playoffs once in their seven seasons and have been eliminated in the other six.
Fortune Barishal is also a part of the 2012 pioneer teams but has only played five seasons out of the eight in the competition’s history. They did not participate in the league from 2016 to 2020. They have also yet to win any titles but have been runners-up thrice.
Since its inception in 2012, the Bangladesh Premier League has undergone many restructurings. With the current seven members of the league, the competition is set to kick off again next year in January.