Unlike the high demand and scramble for match tickets that created headlines during the Sylhet phase of the Bangladesh Premier League, there was not as much fanfare for the tournament’s resumption in Dhaka today after two days’ break.
However, the crowd will surely come in numbers as the intensity among the seven teams will be at its peak when Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s Rangpur Riders takes on Darren Sammy’s Rajshahi Kings in the first game of the day, starting from 1:00 pm at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
The second fixture of the day between defending champions Dhaka Dynamites and high-flying newcomers Sylhet Sixers will start at 6:00 pm.
The local players will look to shift gears after a dismal show in the Sylhet phase as none of the Bangladeshi players found a place in the top five run-scorers’ list so far while Sylhet’s Taijul Islam, with five wickets in four games, is behind his English teammate Liam Plunkett with six scalps.
The runners-up of the previous edition, Rajshahi Kings, are in search of their first win of the tournament after losing both games in Sylhet. The Kings will once again face Rangpur and Sammy will look for an improvement in the catching department after a few dropped catches cost0 his side their opening game against the Riders.
Tigers Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who has so far had a quiet time with the bat for Rajshahi with a pair of 11s in the two games, will be eager to get back among the runs.
Mashrafe’s Rangpur went on to lose their second game against Chittagong Vikings by 11 runs and the Bangladesh ODI skipper will definitely want both his locals and foreigners to fire in crunch situations. He will also want to settle on an opening pair as three players tried so far — Johnson Charles, Luis Reece and Ziaur Rahman — not being able to provide a good start in both games.
On the other hand, after a fantastic stint at their home ground during which they won the first three games on the trot before a six-wicket defeat against Khulna Titans, Sylhet will look to return to winning ways.
Their two in-form foreign openers, Upul Tharanga and Andre Fletcher, have been terrific so far and has given the big starts to make spirited skipper Nasir Hossain happy. Sylhet managed to beat the defending champion comfortably by nine wickets in the tournament opener and will want to replicate the performance against the Dynamites today.
Shakib Al Hasan’s Dhaka however managed to come back strongly in their second game, beating Khulna Titans comfortably by 65 runs and the star-studded side will only get stronger after the inclusion of Pakistan super star Shahid Afridi.