Shakib Al Hasan, a Dhaka Gladiator, leads his team out of the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport yesterday.Photo: STAR
Following a packed reception at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong, the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) returns to Dhaka today for its final leg at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. The timing of the rest of the matches of the competition has been rescheduled. The first game will now begin at 3:30 pm and the second game will begin at 7:30 pm.
The change, according to the BPL's governing council, was made to attract more spectators for the matches.
The battle for the all important fourth spot will take place between the Rangpur Riders and Duronto Rajshahi as the teams, both tied on six points each, will face off in the day's first match. The Riders, who lost their last game against league leaders Sylhet, will want to bounce back at the business end of the competition. They'll rely on Nasir Hossain, their top-scorer who has maintained an impressive batting average of close to 60 so far in the competition.
Rajshahi on the other hand, rode on a match-winning knock from Jaharul Islam to overcome the Barisal Burners by four wickets in their last game at Chittagong. They'll also hope that their most expensive player, Tamim Iqbal, hits form in the final leg of the tournament.
The evening match will witness a battle between the teams occupying the wrong end of the leader board with Barisal Burners taking on the Khulna Royal Bengals. Both the teams will look to make amends in their strategies and will want to make the last round count. Khulna, so far, have won two matches and have heavily relied on their skipper Shahriar Nafees for both those wins. They may be at the bottom of the table, but their record-breaking stand of 197 against Rajshahi last month is proof enough of the team's capabilities.
Despite having a number of talented players in the side, Barisal haven't performed well as a team lately. Brad Hodge, who in this edition of the BPL became the first player ever to cross the 5000-run mark in T20 cricket, has been one of the few consistent batsman in the side. Young Sabbir Rahman with his aggressive batting style has impressed as well, but the team have frequently failed to reach the finish line and will hope for a change of fortunes.
Sylhet with 12 points in seven matches are currently at the top of the table. Dhaka have scored 10 points in seven games while Chitta-gong and Rangpur, with six points each are third and fourth respectively. The highest wicket-taker of the tournament so far is Shohag Gazi who has taken 12 wickets in 7 games. Zimba-bwe's Brendan Taylor leads the runs column with 249 runs in 7 matches.