BPL: Allrounders hold key in big finale

Though there are in-form specialist batsmen and bowlers in both line-ups, the BPL final between Dhaka Dynamites and Rajshahi Kings could boil down to one set of allrounders edging out the other.

Dhaka’s firepower is led by Andre Russell, assisted by Dwayne Bravo, Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain and Mosaddek Hossain. All of them have shown the ability to change the course of the game with their batting, their bowling and their fielding. Russell, Bravo and Shakib have done so time and again in T20 finals but Nasir and Mosaddek will have to adjust to the big occasion.

Darren Sammy will lead Rajshahi’s all-round troops, which also include Samit Patel, Mehedi Hasan, Farhad Reza, James Franklin and young Afif Hossain. It is a motley crew of veterans and rookies but they have done the job on many occasions during the BPL this year.

Rajshahi’s bowling attack also includes Kesrick Williams and Nazmul Islam, two bowlers who have been miserly whenever they have been pushed to win a game. Of course, Rajshahi would be foolish to depend solely on their middle order and bowlers. The likes of Mominul Haque, Nurul Hasan and Sabbir Rahman have to do their bit, which will also give them momentum ahead of Bangladesh’s full series against New Zealand later this month.

Dhaka’s openers Mehedi Maruf and Evin Lewis are dangerous, while the experienced Kumar Sangakkara will provide balance in the top order.

Form guide
Dhaka Dynamites: WLWWW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Rajshahi Kings: WWWLL
In the spotlight
Mehedi Maruf hasn’t scored a half-century since Dhaka’s fourth game; he is due, and when better than the final to deliver? He has been trying to hit out from the first over and, if he succeeds, that could be dangerous for Rajshahi who will also need to contain Evin Lewis at the other end.

After his memorable Test debut against England, Mehedi Hasan has had an uneventful maiden BPL campaign – so far. He has taken 11 wickets in 14 matches and has done well with the bat just once. A budding allrounder, his offspin could make a big difference to Rajshahi’s attack against Dhaka’s big-hitters.

Team news
Dhaka are likely to go with the same XI that crushed Khulna in the first qualifier, which means that the big-hitting Seekkuge Prasanna may have to be kept out.

Dhaka Dynamites (probable): 1 Mehedi Maruf, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Nasir Hossain, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Mosaddek Hossain, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Alauddin Babu, 10 Sunzamul Islam, 11 Abu Jayed

Rajshahi is also likely to remain unchanged from the second qualifier against Khulna, fitting their six allrounders into a strong but inconsistent batting line-up.

Rajshahi Kings (probable): 1 Mominul Haque, 2 Nurul Hasan (wk), 3 Afif Hossain, 4 Sabbir Rahman, 5 James Franklin, 6 Samit Patel, 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Mehedi Hasan, 9 Farhad Reza, 10 Kesrick Williams, 11 Nazmul Islam

Pitch and conditions
Mirpur’s darker soil hasn’t been all that comfortable for the batsmen. Its slow nature has meant that the average score for teams batting first in the evening games has been only 135. In Chittagong it was 161, while in the day games in Mirpur it was 154. Only seven out of 19 times in this tournament have teams batting first won an evening game in Mirpur.

Stats and trivia
In matches won, Dhaka’s Mehedi Maruf has batted at a rate of 145.19. Rajshahi’s Darren Sammy has done even better in that regard: strike rate of 194.79 in wins. With the ball, Kesrick Williams has conceded just 3.33 runs per over in Rajshahi wins
Rajshahi won both their league games against Dhaka, with Samit Patel adjudged Player of the Match on both occasions
This will be the third BPL final for a Dhaka franchise, with the Gladiators having won the title in 2012 and 2013. Rajshahi will be playing their first final
Quotes

‘We want it just as bad as they want it.”
Rajshahi Kings captain Darren Sammy

(ESPNcricinfo)

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