Our prediction is a win for Rajshahi Kings!
The first week of the 2018-19 Bangladesh Premier League is almost at a close and its latest match sees Comilla Victorians taking on Rajshahi Kings at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Dhaka.
These two sides have met four times in BPL history and Comilla have won three of those matches to Rajshahi’s one. In the last event, they shared a win apiece with Rajshahi claiming a 30-run win in the most recent encounter. That was their first win over the Victorians, and they will be hoping to extend that run.
International team-mates coming up against each other is always entertaining and this game could see former Pakistan internationals Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik coming up against Mohammad Hafeez.
The Victorians have had a topsy-turvy start to the competition. Against Sylhet Sixers, an excellent bowling performance with Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehedi Hasan and Mohammad Shahid was backed up by Shahid Afridi getting them home for a four-wicket win with four balls to spare. Next up, however, against the Rangpur Raiders, they were dreadful. Afridi, with 25, was the only player to make double figures as they collapsed to be all out for 63 en route to a nine-wicket defeat.
It is a long tournament and there is plenty of time for them to bounce back but the Victorians might have to think about team changes in the wake of such a disappointing performance. However, their options are limited until Thisara Perera can take his place in the team. One change they could make would be to bring in Shamsur Rahman in place of Evin Lewis, allowing them to play Aamer Yamin as their fourth overseas player.
Tamim Iqbal, Shamsur Rahman, Imrul Kayes, Steve Smith (c), Shoaib Malik, Anamul Haque (wk), Shahid Afridi, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehedi Hasan, Mohammad Shahid
The Kings began their campaign with an 83-run defeat at the hands of Dhaka Dynamites on day when their batting collapsed after only Arafat Sunny took more than one wicket. They made a few tweaks to their line-up and were rewarded with a seven-wicket win over Khulna Titans in their last match with captain Mehidy Hasan leading the way.
Bringing Isuru Udana into the team was a masterstroke and his three-wicket haul, along with a brace from fellow left-armer Mustafizur Rahman was just what the Kings needed. Their bowling attack now looks nicely balanced and their batsmen are coming into some form. As a result, they will be unlikely to make changes after such a strong performance against the Titans and will probably be unchanged for this match.
Mohammad Hafeez, Mominul Haque, Mehidy Hasan Miraz (c), Soumya Sarkar, Laurie Evans, Zakir Hasan (wk), Isuru Udana, Fazle Mahmud, Qais Ahmed, Arafat Sunny, Mustafizur Rahman
The weather is forecast to be warm and dry all week, and that could lead to the pitch drying up a little and offering some assistance to the bowlers. No rain is good news all round, even if the Sher-e-Bangla boasts some of the best drainage facilities in the world. Teams will be mindful of dew playing a part in the second innings.
The Sher-e-Bangla Stadium is hosting the first, third and fifth phases of the BPL so it will be well used and could potentially slow down as it gets more and more worn. As it is now Bangladesh’s main venue, having hosted its first Test in 2007, it is used to high profile events. There has been a total of 121 domestic Twenty20 matches played here, with the side batting second winning 62 times against those batting first 59 – a relatively even split. The average score batting first is 148.
With an almost even split between sides batting first and second winning at this venue, sides should look to play to their strengths when winning the toss. However, as is often the case early on in a tournament, most teams want to field first – the Sylhet Sixers were the first team to do anything different – so expect that trend to continue here as captains also think about what impact the dew could have.
The Victorians will be reeling after their thrashing at the hands of the Raiders, however, at least they get back in action relatively quickly and have an opportunity to put things right. That is exactly what the Kings have already done and the manner in which they saw off the Titans was mighty impressive. They will take plenty of confidence into this match and provided they can keep Afridi quiet, have a good chance of making it two wins in a row.
We are backing Rajashi Kings for the win!
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