Marauding Khulna Tigers set to be an impossible hurdle to cross for the winless Sylhet Thunder!
Khulna Tigers to win the match!
There isn’t a massive history to term this upcoming clash between Khulna Tigers and Sylhet Thunder as a 'David vs Goliath' encounter but their respective form lines certainly forces us to think along those lines. Khulna Tigers, the 2nd placed team currently have been rampant so far and they come into this game after dismantling Rangpur Riders quite easily on Friday. After choosing to bowl first, Khulna's bowlers Mohammad Amir, Shafiul Islam along with some superb fielding ensured that Rangpur could only manage 137-9 after 20 overs.
The score was never going to be enough for a strong Khulna outfit and it was the same case as Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Rilee Rossouw broke the back of the chase with a quickfire 61-run partnership. Even though Gurbaz fell after scoring 37 runs, Rossouw and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim helped Khulna reach home without any problem.
On the other hand, Sylhet suffered their second loss (Four losses overall) against Chattogram Challengers in their last match. After being inserted to bat first, Sylhet floundered with the bat as only Andre Fletcher's 38 and Mahmudullah's 30 helped the team post a respectable 129 on the board. However, even a Krishmar Santokie led bowling attack tried their best, Nurul Hasan and Kesrick Williams helped their team register a tight three-wicket victory.
Khulna has a really well-rounded team with quality foreign players providing strength to both the batting and bowling departments. However, even a bowling attack comprising of Mohammad Amir, Mehidy Hasan and Shafiul Islam would accept that it’s the team's batting that makes Khulna a formidable force to reckon with. The top-scorer in the previous BPL season Rilee Rossouw has continued from he where he left off by scoring 172 runs in just three matches while young Afghan opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Mushifiqur Rahim have batted superbly around him.
The fact that all these three batsmen have had more than one impactful knock has helped Khulna continuously track down totals in all their matches so far. It has only been Nazmul Hossain Shanto who has disappointed so far as he has not utilized his terrific domestic form. While lavish praise has been reserved for the batsmen, let us not forget the quality that the bowlers possess.
Mohammad Amir has obviously proven why he is a trump card in this format while Bangladesh's premier T20 Pacer Shafiul Islam also came up a three-wicket haul against Rangpur in the last match. Apart from these two, Medidy Hasan, Robbie Frylinck and Shahidul Islam provide a lot of variety for Khulna.
Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rilee Rossouw, Mushfiqur Rahim (C & WK), Shamsur Rahman, Robbie Frylinck, Mehidy Hasan, Shahidul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Mohammad Amir, Robiul Haque.
RR Rossouw, Robiul Haque, Mohammad Amir, Saif Hassan, Mehidy Hasan, Robbie Frylinck, Shahidul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shamsur Rahman, Rahmanullah Gurbaz
It’s obvious that something is amiss for Sylhet Thunder. One could argue that the bowling quality from their team isn’t up to the mark but the inconsistency of the batsmen has surprised one and all. It wouldn’t be wrong for fans to expect some quality performances from a batting line-up that includes players like Andre Fletcher, Johnson Charles, Mohammad Mithun and Mosaddek Hossain but they have been really inconsistent.
Sylhet's woes with the bat can’t be explained in a better than having a look at their inability to convert starts. Even though several batsmen have got off to decent starts, only Mohammad Mithun and Mosaddek Hossain have registered half-centuries so far. This has meant that an already under-fire bowling attack has struggled without the luxury of runs on the board. West Indian Krishmar Santokie and Ebadot Hossain have picked 4 and 3 wickets respectively but they have been expensive at the same time
. Apart from them, Sylhet has lacked both wicket-taking options and also run-containers with key bowler Nazmul Islam being not able to bowl at his best so far. The team has also been handicapped by the fact that there are not a lot of quality options on the bench.
Rony Talukdar, Andre Fletcher, Johnson Charles, Mohammad Mithun (WK), Mosaddek Hossain (C), Shafiqullah / Jeevan Mendis, Nayeem Hasan, Delwar Hossain, Krishmar Santokie, Nazmul Islam, Ebadot Hossain.
Ebadat Hossain, Naveen-ul-Haq, Mosaddek Hossain, Abdul Mazid, Monir Hossain, Krishmar Santokie, S Gazi, Mohammad Mithun, J Charles, ADS Fletcher, Nazmul Hossain Milon
As usual batting has been quite easy at Chattogram and some big totals have been seen already. Variations would be key to outfox the batsman at such a free-scoring venue. Unlike the last few days, Chattogram could witness some overcast conditions although there is not a major threat of rain interuppting the match.
The second most popular Bangladeshi cricketing venue, the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram is an absolute delight for modern cricket fans who tend to enjoy big scores. An average first innings score of 171 this season just reflects how batting-friendly the pitches at ZACS are. Saturday could witness more such blistering strokeplay.
While only the big average first innings score was mentioned above, one shouldn’t forget that even such big totals haven’t been safe so far. Predictably, teams who have opted to chase have won four of the five matches. That is exactly what Mosaddek Hossain or Mushfiqur Rahim should do on match-day.
This fixture looks like a very bad match-up on paper. So don’t be surprised if Khulna Tigers absolutely steamroll Sylhet Thunder. We can’t honestly see Sylhet's bowlers troubling the likes of Rossouw, Rahim, and Gurbaz. Even if they fail, Khulna has batting depth in the form of Shamsur Rahman, Robbie Frylinck and Mehidy Hasan. So, it seems like quite an uphill task for Sylhet unless someone like Andre Fletcher or Johnson Charles comes up with a whirlwind knock.
Khulna Tigers to win the match!