Dhaka Platoon aims to displace Chattogram Challengers from the top as the action returns to Dhaka!
Chattogram Challengers to win!
Bangladesh Premier League action will finally return to the capital Dhaka after 14 matches in Chattogram with the home side Dhaka Platoon taking on Chattogram Challengers in the afternoon game on Friday. While home advantage doesn’t count for much in the BPL, Chattogram did pretty well to win three out of their four matches at their home stadium. I
t was only in their most recent match that Chattogram slipped up slightly and Rangpur Rangers made them pay for it. Batting first, none of the Chattogram batsmen with the exception of Avishka Fernando made it big and this meant that the team could only manage 163-7 after 20 overs. In return, Chattogram seemed to make a good fist of their total but the duo of Lewis Gregory and Fazle Mahmud took Rangpur home quite easily with eight balls to spare.
Dhaka Platoon, on the other hand, rode on the back of some superb batting from the likes of Anamul Haque, Tamim Iqbal, and Mahedi Hasan to bring down a target of 175 with consummate ease. Earlier in the match, Dhaka’s bowlers struggled on an afternoon which saw Sylhet’s Johnson Charles, Mohammad Mithun and Sherfane Rutherford making merry on a friendly Chattogram pitch.
The two teams also faced each other in Chattogram in a match which saw the home side triumphing by 16 runs. Like always, it was the batsmen who set up the victory as Lendl Simmons and Mahmudullah compiled half-centuries while Imrul Kayes also chipped in a with 24-ball 40. This ensured that Chattogram posted a gigantic 221 on the board. Chasing such a big total, Dhaka required big partnerships but regular wickets the likes of Mahedi Hasan Rana, Muktar Ali and Kesrick Williams saw the hosts always holding the upper hand. It was only some late hitting from Thisara Perera and Mashrafe Mortaza that reduced the margin of the loss.
Being completely opposite to their opponents, Dhaka Platoon has their bowling as the stronger suit. Dhaka’s batting is heavily dependent on consistent contributions from Tamim Iqbal and the star Bangladeshi batsman hasn’t disappointed till now with 204 runs from five matches. The plan for him seems to be clear given how he has batted at a strike rate of just 117.24 in the tournament in order to let the other players bat with freedom.
Apart from him, Anamul Haque and Mominul Haque will be key cogs for Dhaka. Anamul Haque has been a bit hit and miss till now with quite a few unconverted starts while Mominul Haque top-scored with a fifty against Chattogram Challengers in the reverse fixture. However, interestingly, the most in-form Dhaka batsman is Mahedi Hasan with the all-rounder scoring two fifties in the last two matches. His performances have been a bonus considering how well he has bowled during the powerplay overs.
Along with Mahedi, the Pakistani trio of Wahab Riaz, Shadab Khan, and Shahid Afridi form a pretty strong bowling attack. Shadab Khan, in particular, has started off his campaign pretty well with three neat bowling performances. These bowlers would, however, need contribution from the skipper Mashrafe Mortaza to continue with their winning run.
Anamul Haque (WK), Tamim Iqbal, Mahedi Hasan, Jaker Ali, Asif Ali, Mominul Haque, Shahid Afridi, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Hasan Mahmud
Hasan Mahmud, Mominul Haque, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mahedi Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Jaker Ali Anik, Thisara Perera, SMSK Afridi, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Anamul Haque
Chattogram Challengers are mostly a batting side meaning that the bowlers will rarely be the match-winners for them. This is not a slight on the bowlers but it only shows that Chattogram has players like Lendl Simmons and Avishka Fernando who can take the game away from their opponents very quickly.
The Sri Lankan Avishka Fernando even showed his ability in the last match against Rangpur with an aggressive 40-ball 72. This would have come as a relief since Avishka was showing a lot of promise to only throw it away in some of the first few matches. Apart from him, the duo of Chadwick Walton and Imrul Kayes has also been a revelation with them being the two most consistent batters. This reflects in the fact Walton and Kayes have combined to score four out of the team’s seven fifties. Walton, in particular, should be commended as he switched between opening and batting in the middle-order in a very smooth manner.
On the bowling front, left-arm seamer Mahedi Hasan Rana has been one of the finds of the tournament with him picking up 13 wickets in five matches at a very miserly economy rate. The youngster has found some good support from the experienced Rubel Hossain but the rest of the bowlers have struggled. The duo of Kesrick Williams and Muktar Ali have contributed with six wickets each but they have also been expensive at the same time. New recruit, Liam Plunkett was also expensive in his debut game against Rangpur which saw him replace Kesrick Williams in the line-up.
Lendl Simmons, Avishka Fernando, Imrul Kayes (C), Nasir Hossain, Chadwick Walton, Nurul Hasan (WK), Muktar Ali, Liam Plunkett, Rubel Hossain, Nasum Ahmed, Mehedi Hasan Rana
|M Hasan Rana||3.0||0||16||1||5.33|
|M Hasan Rana||3.0||0||16||1||5.33|
M Junaid Siddique, Chadwick Walton, Muktar Ali, LMP Simmons, Rubel Hossain, Liam Plunkett, Nasum Ahmed, Ryan Burl, Mehedi Hasan Rana, Nurul Hasan, Imrul Kayes
Although the last two matches in Dhaka were high-scoring, bowlers will feel relieved to come back from Chattogram. Traditionally, the Dhaka surface has tended to favor spinners while not being unplayable for the batsmen. Such a pitch could be offered on Friday. Meanwhile, good weather is on the cards but the day could be foggy during this match-day.
Last season, Dhaka hosted quite a few low scoring matches with totals below 140 being a regular occurrence. Spin bowlers and fast bowlers who used variations ruled the roost but there is a better balance for this season. This is reflected in the average first innings score is a very healthy 153 in the eight matches that have been held at the Shere Bangla National Stadium so far.
During the first stint in Dhaka, there was an interesting trend of chasing teams winning all the four-afternoon matches while teams batting first won three out of the four-night matches. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to follow this trend with batting second being the preferred option in T20 cricket anyway.
We are going for a Chattogram win as their batting has too much firepower even though Dhaka has a good bowling attack. If Chattogram bat first, a target around 170-175 might be a winning one for them while Dhaka needs to post at least 160 runs to make a match out of this fixture. The battle between the two Dhaka leg-spinners, Shadab Khan and Shahid Afridi against Chattogram’s Avishka Fernando, Lendl Simmons, and Chadwick Walton will be a mouth-watering one.
Chattogram Challengers to win!