Hardened sides look to hit their strides | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 25, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:20 AM, November 25, 2016

Bangladesh Premier League

Hardened sides look to hit their strides

Soumya Sarkar, the Rangpur Riders icon player, has scored just 77 runs in six matches but will fortune turn in his favour when the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) returns to the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today after a stint in Chittagong?

The left-hander will desperately be looking to bounce back from his prolonged bad patch and try to regain confidence ahead of the demanding New Zealand tour in December-January.

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His return to form will definitely help Rangpur Riders' stay at the top position but his team will once again rely heavily on the spin trio of Shahid Afridi, Arafat Sunny and Shohag Gazi to continue their surge. On the other hand, their icon player Soumya is yet to click. Mohammad Shahzad and Mohammad Mithun have however lent some solidity at the top and Afridi looks confident of providing the finishing blows.

It will basically be a contest of two confident sides when Rangpur faces off against Rajshahi Kings. Rajshahi have played six matches for four points; two points ahead of the bottom-placed Comilla Victorians, but they lost two close matches in Chittagong and will definitely try to cash in on that confidence to get back into contention.

“We are now at the top spot but still we have enough matches, so you can't say anything. In T20 there is no big or small team but the main concern is that of minimising the mistakes in the middle,” said Arafat Sunny yesterday.

In the second match of the day the second-placed Khulna will be looking to extend their lead when they meet Barisal Bulls, who lost all of their three Chittagong-leg matches.

All eyes will be on the two Barisal batsmen Mushfiqur Rahim and Shahriar Nafees and whether they can get back their rhythm to bring Barisal back to winning ways.

“We could not perform as per our expectations in Chittagong. Our main target would be to bring back the winning momentum. We discussed about our mistakes, so we are hopeful that we can correct those and start the Dhaka-leg with a win,” hoped Nafees.

“Now the tournament has arrived at a tough juncture because every team played against each other and has enough ideas about their opponents. And T20 is a very cruel format where you don't get enough time or chances to correct your mistakes. So the important issue is to make sure you are not making too many mistakes in a match,” he added.

In the end however, fans will be most interested to see if the Chittagong run spree continues in Dhaka. The first phase in Dhaka saw an average first-innings score of 144 runs in 13 matches, while the Chittagong leg has had more fireworks with an average first innings score of 161.

The organisers will also hope that the larger crowds in Chittagong is also seen in Mirpur from today.

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