The BPL playoffs are finally upon us, you can just feel the sense of anticipation for tonight’s blockbuster-first qualifying final between the top two teams of the competition.
Rested in the last game of their fixture, Victorians captain Tamim Iqbal is set to make his return and should be freshened up to face Dhaka in their first qualifier. Having also been rested in the previous game before the Sylhet Sixers clash, Victorians wicketkeeper Liton Das made his return to the side in emphatic style, blasting 65 off 43 deliveries at the top of the order. From one wicketkeeper to another, England’s Jos Buttler has been out of sorts and could possibly be dropped for the first qualifier tonight. Buttler’s last sizable contribution to the team was back in the 14th match of the BPL against Chittagong, November 14. Since then, he’s only managed to score 50 runs from seven innings and finds himself in a massive form-slump. Luckily for Comilla, both key International batsmen Shoaib Malik and Marlon Samuels have been doing most of the heavy lifting in the middle order in recent times. They’ve easily been the teams most productive scorers in the second half of this tournament, Samuels has strung together some solid performances with the willow and is averaging 67.5 in his past four matches, while Malik is averaging 64 from his past six innings for the Victorians. There’s no doubt that those two guys will play a crucial part in Comilla’s finals campaign. After some strong performances at No. 3 earlier in the tournament, Imrul Kayes has dropped off on his output slightly and needs to rediscover his form for this all-important qualifier.
Their bowling attack has been functioning brilliantly in the past couple of matches, off-spinner Mahedi Hasan has been sensational in the absence of Rashid Khan who was also producing outstanding spells before he left for International duties. Hasan has picked up six wickets in his past three outings, that included a four-wicket haul against Rangpur. Even Zimbabwe’s Graeme Cremer looks to have consolidated his spot in the side, his handy leg-breaks have only added to Comilla’s bowling assets. Than of coarse you have the two front line bowlers who haven’t been short of taking wickets so far in the BPL, Mohammad Saifuddin and Hasan Ali. He’s been prolific on the International stage this year, some would say it’s been his breakout year for Pakistan and Hasan Ali has only continued that standard in this years BPL. Ali’s picked up 12 wickets including a five-wicket haul against the Dynamites, and Saifuddin has also been productive in the wickets department as well. Expect Dwayne Bravo to make a return in this one, he’s a big game player and this certainly has all the makings of a thrilling contest.
The Dynamites have an almighty task ahead of them, taking on the first-placed Victorians who have a variety of both match winners & entertainers in the team. The Dynamites have more of the same though, names like Sunil Narine, Evin Lewis, Kieron Pollard, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Amir and Shahid Afridi headline an unpredictable act. The surprise package of the tournament for Dhaka so far has been England’s Joe Denly who has been Mr consistency at the top of the order. Not your priority foreign pick in the starting XI by any means, but once given his opportunity Denly posted scores of 44, 49 & 53 consecutively. It wasn’t until they clashed with the Rangpur Riders where Denly finally broke his streak of consistency, dismissed for just nine off the bowling of Samuel Badree. It will be interesting to see if they bring back Shahid Afridi, his dominance with the ball as well as the bat since arrival was something that the Dynamites thrived off, he picked up 12 wickets (including two four-wicket hauls) from his six games. Sunil Narine’s pinch-hitting in the opening position continues to impress, although you have to take the good with the bad sometimes. If anything, he’s probably had double the amount of failures compared to his successes in this years BPL. A couple of blistering-knocks against Comilla (76) and Rajshahi (69) have more than made up for his early departures.
The Dynamites are currently rolling with three West Indians in the starting XI, and they’re all worth their weight in diamonds as far as I’m concerned. Although Kieron Pollard can be a major hit-and-miss type player, his power-hitting down the order as the innings progresses is a potential match winner, but when he fails it’s almost like a wasted spot in the side…risk for reward is the message here. Evin Lewis has been outstanding at the top of the order for Dhaka this year, although his form guide heading into the playoffs isn’t great. At one stage in the BPL, the Dynamites had one of the most troublesome-trio in the bowling department, all of whom are spinners. Yep, Sunil Narine, Shahid Afridi and Shakib Al Hasan are a major reason why Dhaka have made it this far in the tournament, they each had a role and fulfilled it to perfection. Seamer Abu Hider was particularly effective in the first half of the tournament for Dhaka, taking multiple wickets on regular occasions. The added addition of Pakistani quick Mohammad Amir has just added another level of class to the side, he’s bowled very well in all three of his matches and could be another game breaker on the horizon for Dhaka.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Comilla Victorians | BPL | 1st qualifier | Dhaka
- Tamim Iqbal
- Marlon Samuels
- Shoaib Malik
- Hasan Ali
- Mohammad Saifuddin
Wildcard pick – Mahedi Hasan
Top 5 fantasy picks | Dhaka Dynamites | BPL | 1st qualifier | Dhaka
- Sunil Narine
- Shakib Al Hasan
- Abu Hider
- Evin Lewis
- Mohammad Amir
Wildcard pick – Kieron Pollard
Comilla Victorians (possible) – 1. Tamim Iqbal (c) 2. Liton Das (wk) 3. Imrul Kayes 4. Marlon Samuels 5. Shoaib Malik 6. Dwayne Bravo/Jos Buttler 7. Graeme Cremer 8. Hasan Ali 9. Mahedi Hasan 10. Mohammad Saifuddin 11. Al-Amin Hossain.
Dhaka Dynamites (possible) – 1. Sunil Narine 2. Evin Lewis 3. Joe Denly/Cameron Delport 4. Jahurul Islam (wk) 5. Shakib Al Hasan (c) 6. Mehedi Maruf 7. Mosaddek Hossain 8. Kieron Pollard/Shahid Afridi 9. Mohammad Amir 10. Abu Hider 11. Mohammad Saddam/Mohammad Shahid.