Khulna Tigers aim to get back to winning ways against Rajshahi Royals!
Rajshahi Royals will win the match!
An interesting match is on the cards on Sunday as Khulna Tigers are set to take on Rajshahi Royals at the ZAC Stadium in Chattogram. Both teams are coming off disappointing losses and that would make them give their best to get a good result. Khulna Tigers played their most recent match on Saturday against Sylhet Thunder who had lost all their four games while coming into this fixture.
However, Sylhet surprised one and all with complete team performance. It all started with breathtaking strokeplay from the West Indian duo of Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher. While Charles came with a superb 38-ball 90, Fletcher registered his first T20 century. Riding on the back of the pair’s knocks, Sylhet managed to compile a daunting 232-5.
Chasing such a huge total was always going to be tough and it only became harder when Rahmanullah Gurbaz was dismissed for a duck. Talisman Rilee Rossouw gave some hope with a fantastic half-century but Khulna didn’t have any other batsman standing up on the day. It was only Robbie Frylinck's fireworks in the final few overs which brought some respectability to Khulna's total as the team lost by a margin of 80 runs.
Meanwhile, Rajshahi Royals would also hope to stay in touch with the top teams. This is where two consecutive losses won’t be ideal. Rajshahi will also be looking to avenge their loss against Khulna in the last game. Even after posting 189-4 with the help of two superb knocks from Shoaib Malik and Ravi Bopara, Khulna's batting led by Mushfiqur Rahim tracked down the target with two balls to spare.
One loss after three quality performances shouldn’t set the alarm bells ringing as the core of Khulna's team is still strong. Against any opponent, Khulna's batting line-up will look better because of the number of quality players available with them.
Rilee Rossouw, in particular, has left bowlers in desperation this season. Even in the last game against Sylhet Thunder, Rossouw looked ominous until he was dismissed off a full toss. Not a lot needs to be said about the skipper Mushfiqur Rahim's quality as he has also been constantly developing his T20 game. Rahim will be positive since his 96-run knock this season came against Rajshahi Royals three games ago.
Apart from these two, Robbie Frylinck was a plus point in the last game against Sylhet as he showed how he destructive he could be during the death overs. It is only the young opening duo of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Saif Hassan who need some consistency. While the batting department doesn’t have major problems, the bowling efforts have been under-par in the last few games.
After conceding 189 against Rajshahi three matches ago, Sylhet also made merry to post 232 runs. Even after taking into account how difficult it is to be a bowler at this venue, Khulna's bowlers need to step up very quickly. The onus will definitely be on the two main bowlers Mohammad Amir and Shafiul Islam as only if they pick regular wickets, Khulna will be able to opponents. Also, if they pick regular wickets, Mehidy Hasan will have a better role to play in this team.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Saif Hassan, Rilee Rossouw, Mushfiqur Rahim (C & WK), Shamsur Rahman, Robbie Frylinck, Mehidy Hasan, Shahidul Islam, Mohammad Amir, Robiul Haque/ Aminul Islam, Shafiul Islam.
RR Rossouw, Tanvir Islam, Shamsur Rahman, Mohammad Amir, Mehidy Hasan, Robbie Frylinck, Shafiul Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shahidul Islam, Nazmul Hossain, Rahmanullah Gurbaz
Rajshahi Royals are also a team that depends a lot on how well their batters do. Their strength lies in the fearsome middle-order which includes Shoaib Malik, Ravi Bopara and Andre Russell. Those three players have the ability to win games on their own.
Malik, in particular, has been really good until now with 139 runs in 3 matches. If this isn’t enough, Rajshahi also has two of Bangladesh’s most promising T20 players in Liton Das and Afif Hossain and the former has been pretty good in the three matches so far. Their bowling has also been good with the exception being the last match against Sylhet Thunder.
All-rounders Andre Russell, Farhad Reza, Ravi Bopara and Alok Kapali form the core of Rajshahi's bowling attack. Along with them, the likes of Abu Jayed and Taijul Islam provide nice variety without ever being threatening as such.
Liton Das (WK), Hazratullah Zazai, Afif Hossain, Shoaib Malik, Alok Kapali, Ravi Bopara, Andre Russell (C), Farhad Reza, Taijul Islam, Abu Jayed, Kamrul Islam.
Nahidul Islam, Alok Kapali, Kamrul Islam, Liton Das, RS Bopara, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Irfan, Abu Jayed, Afif Hossain, Farhad Reza, Andre Russell
Night matches on both Wednesday and Friday saw 200+ totals from the team batting first. So it is obvious that the pitch will be as the bowlers have had no help at all. Meanwhile, the weather shouldn’t pose any problem on match-day.
When rows flow, fans will obviously be very happy and that is the case for the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram too. Like mentioned above, night matches have been pretty high-scoring ones. It will be interesting to see whether the curator tries to bring the spinners into play or let’s the pitch behave in the same manner.
We will be expecting the toss winning captain to bat first in this night match. The conditions while batting first might be just slightly better when compared to chasing. So, the onus will be on the batter to post a total that is beyond the chasing side's reach.
It’s a tricky call as both these teams have plenty of quality players in their mix. But in the end, Rajshahi could be expected to edge this encounter as they seem to have a better team balance.
With Khulna's bowling under the scanner, only a special from Rossouw or Rahim could save the day.
Rajshahi Royals will win the match!