With the BPL fixture drawing to an end, the first-placed Comilla Victorians will take on the Sylhet Sixers who are cemented in fifth position on the points table. The Sixers broke their losing streak with a demolition against Chittagong, meanwhile the Victorians are coming off a loss against Khulna.
It’s been a topsy-turvy tournament in this years BPL, there’s no two ways about it. Apart from the Chittagong Vikings, every team has had a crack at reaching the top of the table at some point in the tournament. With the final game of the BPL fixture coming up, the Comilla Victorians have cemented their position at the top of the standings for 2017 with a match against the Sixers remaining. It’s first versus fifth, sure that’s one way to look at it, but after the Sixers 10-wicket victory against the Vikings and Comilla’s recent loss to the Titans, the standings become almost-irrelevant. With all that said and done, Comilla have a batting line-up that other opposition teams in the competition would be salivating over. West Indies right-hander Marlon Samuels hasn’t been at his best on the International stage in recent times, but his output in twenty20 competitions like these are priceless. Funnily enough, Samuels hasn’t been as relied-upon compared to last years BPL which has only strengthened Comilla’s batting order with the veteran coming in and finishing the innings off with a bang. Both Bangladeshi batsman Imrul Kayes and captain Tamim Iqbal have been brilliant at different stages in the tournament, Iqbal has had a solid run leading into the finals and Kayes has been at his consistent-best throughout the comp. Pakistani veteran Shoaib Malik is another individual who brings a wealth of experience to this Victorians outfit, he’s been the icing on the cake in a side filled with quality batsmen.
Comilla’s batting is certainly their greatest attribute, although they haven’t been to shabby in the bowling department either. There’s no doubting that Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan will be a huge loss when the finals come around, currently away on International duties which has given others the opportunity to stand up in his absence. Mahedi Hasan, the 22-year-old Khulna born off-spinner looks set to play the role of the specialist spinner in the side with some added additions alongside him. Both Mohammad Saifuddin and Hasan Ali were rested for the Rangpur clash along with wicketkeeper Liton Das, West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has also missed the last two matches and could be a chance to return in Comilla’s upcoming match against Sylhet. Both Mohammad Saifuddin and Hasan Ali have been brilliant for the Victorians with the ball in the tournament, along with Mahedi Hasan who picked up 4/22 against the Riders a couple days back. Bringing in the likes of Zimbabwe duo Solomon Mire & Graeme Cremer, as well as Raqibul Hasan and Mehedi Hasan Rana against the Titans, it’s clear that Comilla are rotating their key players in and out of the side to allows for some rest ahead of their finals campaign.
Unlike the Victorians, Sylhet will be heading into this match all guns blazing after missing the BPL playoffs by one spot. It’s no surprise really, after they won three-consecutive matches on their home ground they went on a six-game losing streak which inevitably decided their fate in the tournament. Thankfully for the Sixers, they broke their huge winning drought with a colossal-victory over the Chittagong Vikings. Even know the Vikings are the bottom side in the competition, hopefully it’s given Sylhet some sort of momentum & confidence heading into their last game in this years BPL. Seen as a powerhouse combination at the start of the tournament with Upul Tharanga and Andre Fletcher dominating from the outset, they ended up dropping both from the side just a couple games after they had asserted their dominance in the competition. How quickly things can change, T20 is a game of fluctuating fortunes and the Sixers were certainly on the receiving end of that. They’ve looked more potent in their last couple of matches, Babar Azam has strengthened the top order significantly while local phenomenon Sabbir Rahman has finally found his feet after a quiet start to the tournament, even Andre Fletcher has found some consistency after his short stint on the sidelines. Danushka Gunathilaka is another who stood up with the bat when Sylhet were starting to spiral out of control, and just recently Mohammad Rizwan entered the Sixers playing XI and scored a fluent 36 not out alongside Fletcher in the opening partnership.
After single-handedly destroying Chittagong’s top order in their last outing, Sixers skipper Nasir Hossain produced career-best bowling figures of 5/31. It was a pretty convincing performance from the bowling attack in general, Nabil Samad picked up an impressive 3/7 while Sharifullah also contributed with 2/23, it was a spinners paradise that day! Carnage all-round for the Vikings, but more importantly breaking Sylhet’s lengthy losing streak which would have been a massive weight lifted off their shoulders. A win in this last game of the tournament for the Sixers would restore some pride after they were easily the BPL’s biggest contenders turned pretenders of the year, it’s been a frustrating month of cricket for Sylhet to say the least. It’s looking very unlikely that they’ll change a winning XI after such a commanding performance, although the thought of it shouldn’t be discounted. The Sixers campaign in a nutshell hasn’t really supplied any real dominance in either department, the bowlers have toiled away without any of them being standouts, Abul Hasan, Taijul Islam and Nasir Hossain have all tasted small doses of success. With the batting, Tharanga and Fletcher started the tournament like a house on fire followed by a couple of decent knocks from Gunathilaka, Rahman and Azam, with the rest of the team having minimal impact overall.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Comilla Victorians | BPL | 42nd match | Dhaka
- Tamim Iqbal
- Mahedi Hasan
- Mohammad Saifuddin
- Marlon Samuels
- Shoaib Malik
Wildcard pick – Dwayne Bravo
Top 5 fantasy picks | Sylhet Sixers | BPL | 42nd match | Dhaka
- Andre Fletcher
- Babar Azam
- Nasir Hossain
- Sabbir Rahman
- Nabil Samad
Wildcard pick – Mohammad Rizwan
Comilla Victorians (possible) – 1. Tamim Iqbal (c) 2. Liton Das (wk) 3. Imrul Kayes 4. Jos Buttler/Darren Bravo 5. Shoaib Malik 6. Marlon Samuels 7. Graeme Cremer/Dwayne Bravo 8. Raqibul Hasan 9. Mohammad Saifuddin 10. Al-Amin Hossain/Hasan Ali 11. Mahedi Hasan.
Sylhet Sixers (possible) – 1. Mohammad Rizwan (wk) 2. Andre Fletcher 3. Babar Azam 4. Sabbir Rahman 5. Nasir Hossain (c) 6. Ross Whiteley/Danushka Gunathilaka 7. Sohail Tanvir 8. Kamrul Islam Rabbi 9. Abul Hasan 10. Nabil Samad 11. Sharifullah.