Dhaka Dynamites are a team filled with T20 superstars. Comilla Victorians are much the same, their hefty batting line-up and proficient bowling attack helping them finish as the top team in the league stage. So, who will blink first in the first qualifier?
Comilla will rely heavily on their experienced players Tamim Iqbal, Shoaib Malik and Marlon Samuels to complement the youthful brigade of Hasan Ali, Mohammad Saifuddin and Mahedi Hasan. All six have performed admirably.
Mahedi, the 22-year old uncapped offspinner, has been the biggest surprise, matching accuracy with big-match temperament. Hasan, the Pakistan sensation, has gone from strength to strength to cap off a stunning 2017. Saifuddin has a bit of distance to go but the seamer has shown the ability to bounce back from a bad show.
Dhaka are bookended by the big-hitting prowess of Evin Lewis in the opening slot and Kieron Pollard down the order. You cannot go wrong with these two in good form, particularly with Lewis taking his innings deep. Dhaka’s spin trio – Shakib Al Hasan, Shahid Afridi and Sunil Narine – have taken a wicket roughly every 14 balls, which means that they can take up to eight wickets in a game if it is their day.
(last five completed matches, most recent first)
Dhaka Dynamites: WWLWL
Comilla Victorians: WLWWW
In the spotlight
Lewis has had a tremendous BPL campaign, having made 334 runs at an average of 37.11 and a strike rate of 160.57. He has given Dhaka fast starts on a regular basis and has even shepherded them into the slog overs before the others took control.
Comilla would expect Malik to keep his excellent form going. Coming in down the order, he has helped set up big finishes batting first and second and he already has a half-century against Dhaka this year.
Dhaka would have to sacrifice Mohammad Amir if they opt to go for batting stability at the top. Also, spin-bowling firepower is important so they may opt for both Narine and Afridi, in addition to Shakib.
Dhaka Dynamites (probable): 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Joe Denly, 3 Sunil Narine, 4 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 5 Jahurul Islam (wk), 6 Mosaddek Hossain, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Kieron Pollard, 9 Nadif Chowdhury, 10 Mohammad Saddam, 11 Abu Hider
Comilla will have to choose between fast bowler Dwayne Bravo and legspinner Graeme Cremer, depending on the type of pitch and the amount of dew.
Comilla Victorians (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal (capt), 2 Liton Das (wk), 3 Imrul Kayes, 4 Jos Buttler, 5 Marlon Samuels, 6 Shoaib Malik, 7 Graeme Cremer/Dwayne Bravo, 8 Mohammad Saifuddin, 9 Mahedi Hasan, 10 Hasan Ali, 11 Al-Amin Hossain
Pitch and conditions
The pitch for this game will be first used for the eliminator between Rangpur Riders and Khulna Titans in the afternoon, so there will be far more help for the spinners in the second contest.’
Stats and trivia
- Dhaka’s Afridi, Narine and Shakib have combined to take 41 wickets at 14.9 in this tournament.
- During this BPL, Hasan Ali became the first bowler to take a five-wicket haul with all batsmen out bowled.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84
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