Dhaka Dynamites and Rangpur Riders are one step away from entering the final of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2019, as they will lock horns in the Qualifier 2 on Wednesday.
The deck at Shere Bangla Stadium in Dhaka has been flat. However, the conditions start favouring the bowlers in the second innings.
The average first and second innings scores read 150 and 129 respectively. The highest total chased here is 211/4 by Bangladesh against West Indies.
Upul Tharanga was added to the playing XI in their second-last match of the group stages. As fate would have it, he went for a nought. The Dynamites, however, persisted with him and that too in a must-win game. He responded with 42 runs and the Dynamites qualified for the Eliminator. The veteran yet again provided a solid start, this time scoring a half-century. His opening partner Sunil Narine added 31 off 16. Their innings helped Dynamites chase down 136 with 3.2 overs to spare, progressing to Qualifier 2.
In the middle and lower-middle order, the Dynamites have the likes of Rony Talukdar, Nurul Hasan, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and captain Shakib Al Hasan – all have been among runs in this season.
Shakib, unsurprisingly, is the second-highest wicket-taker. With the bat, he has been as productive, scoring 275 runs. As is the case in IPL, Shakib, Narine, and Russell play for the same team. In as many matches, Narine has collected a meagre 10 runs and 3 wickets fewer than Shakib. Russell, on the other hand, is yet to strike big. He is a T20 specialist. He may as well make it big on Wednesday.
Rubel Hossain heads their pacer attack. He has 17 wickets at an impressive average of 18.2. He shares the new ball with southpaw Qazi Onik.
Along with Shakib and Narine, the Dynamites have potent spinners in Mahmudul Hasan and Shuvgata Hom. Both have been doing a good job of containing the onslaught.
Probable XI for Dhaka Dynamites: Upul Tharanga, Sunil Narine, Rony Talukdar, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Nurul Hasan (wk), Keiron Pollard, Andre Russell, Mahmudul Hasan, Qazi Onik, Shuvgata Hom, Rubel Hossain
With AB de Villiers ending his contract, the onus lies on Chris Gayle to score bulk of the runs. In 11 matches, Gayle has a mere half-century. Nonetheless, he looked in good touch in the first Qualifier, bludgeoning 44 runs.
The star of the BPL 2019 has been, with no doubt whatsoever, Rilee Rossouw. He has blasted 558 runs, including a hundred and five fifties. He has been so swaggering that he is 132 runs ahead of the second-highest.
Mohammad Mithun and Mehedi Maruf have been performing in bits and pieces. With ABD gone, they have to bat well as a cohesive unit.
That said, ABD’s absence did not cost the Riders much. Benny Howell rose to the occasion and scored 53* off 28, including three fours and five sixes in the first Qualifier. If Howell goes all guns blazing on Wednesday, Shakib will have a tough time containing him.
The Riders’ bowling attack is led by their captain Mashrafe Mortaza, who is three wickets away from becoming the highest wicket-taker of the season. Farhad Reza and Shafiul Islam will play second-fiddle in the pace department, while Sohail Gazi has been helping his captain put a lid on the runs with his off-spinners.
Probable XI for Rangpur Riders: Chris Gayle, Mehdi Maruf, Mohammad Mithun (wk), Rilee Rossouw, Ravi Bopara, Benn Howell, Nahidul Islam, Farhad Reza, Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Shafiul Islam, Sohag Gazi
I have opted for a fantasy cricket team on the basis of players’ impact, recent performances, and credit points.
What is your combination?
My XI: Mohammad Mithun (wk), Chris Gayle, Rilee Rossouw (vc), Upul Tharanga, Keiron Pollard, Shakib Al Hasan, Nahidul Islam, Sunil Narine (c), Mashrafe Mortaza, Qazi Onik, Shafiul Islam