The fifth edition of Bangladesh Premier League is at the business end as Khulna Titans take on Rangpur Riders in the eliminator at Shere Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Mirpur.
Khulna started the tournament strongly but failed to finish at top two. Mahmudullah Riyad’s men are in form as the franchise has reached the playoffs for the second consecutive time since it’s debut.
Star-packed Rangpur were expected to perform a lot better than they did in the round-robin stage. They just managed to get themselves in the top four. The Riders will definitely be seeking big performances from Chris Gayle, Lasith Malinga and co.
The Titans have got performances from almost every individual. Pacer Abu Jayed Rahi is the second-leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 18 scalps. Shafiul Islam has also been impressive. Two Barbadians Carlos Brathwaite and Jofra Archer have had a brilliant tournament.
Khulna will once again look for good performance from their skipper Mahmudullah Riyad. His bowling could be an additional plus point for them.
Two dynamic T20 batsmen Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum haven’t performed according to the expectations. They will be needed to fire in the all important situation. Local players have contributed a lot for the Riders. Mohammad Mithun has scored 299 runs so far, the fifth-leading run-scorer. Nazmul Islam Apu has been Rangpur’s go-to spinner.
Captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has had a good BPL so far with both bat and ball. With Rangpur playing a lot of close matches, Mashrafe will be key to their inspiration.
The match will begin at 2:00 pm local time. The Mirpur pitch is expected to be slow as usual.
Rangpur Riders likely XI: Chris Gayle, Ziaur Rahman, Brendon McCullum, Mohammad Mithun (wk), Nahidul Islam, Ravi Bopara, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (captain), Sohag Gazi, Nazmul Islam Apu, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga.
Khulna Titans likely XI: Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Michael Klinger, Afif Hossain, Mahmudullah Riyad (captain), Nicholas Pooran (wk), Ariful Haque, Carlos Brathwaite, Jofra Archer, Shafiul Islam, Mohammad Irfan and Abu Jayed Rahi.
-Ruffin, Correspondent, bdcrictime.com