BPL 2017: Chris Gayle set to rekindle opening partnership with Brendon McCullum
What's the story?
Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum are set to open the batting together for the first time in more than eight years. Having arrived in Bangladesh, the West Indies stalwart and the former New Zealand skipper will form an explosive pairing at the top of the order for Rangpur Riders in the ongoing edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).
"We know how destructive Brendon McCullum is. It's a privilege to open the batting with him again. We opened together way back in the IPL. Now, we are joining forces again. It is new for both of us to come in and go for a blast, but we have experience. Everyone in Bangladesh wants to be entertained by two great entertainers in myself and McCullum. The expectation is high on us to deliver", Gayle was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
Meanwhile, a self-effacing McCullum quipped, "I will probably just try and give him the strike and watch him hit sixes."
In the past...
The 2009 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) saw the previous instance of Gayle and McCullum opening the batting together. The dynamic duo opened the innings for Kolkata Knight Riders during the initial stages of their campaign. However, both batsmen misfired in unison and were unable to prevent their team from spiralling to the bottom of the points table.
The heart of the matter
During last month, Rangpur Riders's Chief Executive Istiak Sadek had confirmed that McCullum will be available for selection from November 15 onwards. The 2017 BPL season will be the belligerent right-hander's maiden tryst with the tournament. On the other hand, Gayle is set to play for his fifth franchise in the league.
From their first three matches, Rangpur Riders won only one game. As a consequence, they now find themselves at the bottom of the points table. Most of their concerns have emanated from a below-par performance from the opening duo of Johnson Charles and Adam Lyth. Apart from skipper Mashrafe Mortaza, the team's pace department also includes the experienced Lasith Malinga.
Rangpur Riders's next game is against Comilla Victorians at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Saturday. The match is scheduled to start at 1800 local time.
The sight of Gayle and McCullum walking out to open the batting together will delight the cricket-crazy people in Bangladesh. The accomplished duo are not only expected to lead Rangpur Riders's charge but also overturn what has been a sedate start to the 2017 BPL season.