Several minutes after the Dhaka Dynamites players had taken a partial victory lap at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, they gathered around the DJ’s stage on which Dwayne Bravo was hoisted to sing a few lines of his song Champion. The players danced to the tune for a few minutes before gathering near the post-match presentation area.
There was joy on their faces, as well as relief. Though Chittagong Vikings had built a strong squad, and Comilla Victorians were defending champions, Dhaka were overwhelming favourites to win the BPL. After failing to make the final in 2015, the franchise owners put together a team that had everything. The of talent and experience left on the Dhaka bench – Mahela Jayawardene for example – said enough about their preparation and ambition to winning the title.
The pressure on the players was immense at times, and certainly so in the final. Shakib Al Hasan, the Dhaka captain, said support from the coach Khaled Mahmud and senior players like Kumar Sangakkara and Jayawardene had helped ease nerves when the team got a bit shaky in the tournament.
“There is always a bit of pressure,” Shakib said. “We had a good team and everyone expected us to be champions. Sujon bhai [Mahmud] made it easier for us, and the senior players helped us. We didn’t have to be tense. We had the experience and so whenever we wavered, we knew how to come back.”
Shakib said a number of players had served the team well through the tournament but he had to make sure the local players’ hunger was at the same level as their more experienced team-mates.
“I said at the start of the tournament that the target was to win the cup. This is a very big deal. The biggest thing was the way the entire team played. You may have many famous players but it is important how the team performs.
“Throughout the tournament, majority of the players performed at different moments. We wanted the others to get the desire from the more famous players. We managed to create a good environment.”
Sangakkara, who was adjudged Man of the Match in the final for his 33-ball 36, said that a domestic T20 final still got him going. “It doesn’t matter what stage, when you play a final you want to win it. Everyone plays to try and win trophies. BPL this time was an outstanding achievement.
“The credit goes to everyone, even to Abul and Akhtar who helped us with our bags and pads. When all these things are in place our job becomes very easy.”
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.