The fifth round of the 21st edition of the National Cricket League (NCL) will commence today with Khulna Division sitting on top of the points table in Tier 1 after accumulating 26.46 points.
Khulna will play Rajshahi Division in Mirpur while Dhaka Division, second in the top tier with 20.6 points, will face Rangpur Division in Chattogram. Meanwhile, hosts Barishal Division will try to get the better of Chittagong Division and Dhaka Metropolis will face Sylhet Division in Cox’s Bazar.
However, with cyclone Bulbul looming, some of the fixtures might see the first day of play marred by inclement weather, especially the matches in Cox’s Bazar, Chattogram and Barishal -- the places to be most affected by the cyclone.
If the weather remains favourable, it will be the perfect opportunity for Khulna, who convincingly defeated Rajshahi by seven wickets in their previous meeting and also won their last fixture against Rangpur by one wicket, to get into a commanding position.
The leaders can gain a maximum of nine points for a win -- eight for a win and a bonus point for registering two consecutive victories and even more if they meet other conditions.
That would also make life difficult for Dhaka Division, who would then be required to win their fixture against Rangpur and also the following game to stay in the title race.
Rangpur, who are yet to register a win and sit bottom of the Tier 1 table, will be desperate to seal a victory and reduce their chances of being relegated. However, so far it seems all four Tier 2 teams have a chance to be promoted to the top tier with little separating them in terms of points.