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Chattogram, Rajshahi even ahead of Qualifier 2

  • Published at 10:59 pm January 14th, 2020
Chattogram Challengers' Imrul Kayes plays a shot during their BBPL match against Sylhet Thunder in Mirpur Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

Chattogram and Rajshahi both finished the league stage with 16 points, and they each registered a comprehensive victory in their two head-to-head matches

The Chattogram Challengers and Rajshahi Royals are set to face off in the second qualifier of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 Wednesday, with both sides looking to prove who is better.

Chattogram and Rajshahi both finished the league stage with 16 points, and they each registered a comprehensive victory in their two head-to-head matches.

The head-to-head

In the league stage, Chattogram won their first encounter against the Royals on January 7 by seven wickets, on the back of half-centuries from Imrul Kayes and Lendl Simmons. 

Chris Gayle also chipped in with a quick-fire 23, as the Challengers successfully chased 166/8 posted by the Royals.

Rajshahi Royals' Andre Russell bowls during training Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

However, the Royals came back strongly in the rematch against Chattogram four days later, winning the match by eight wickets. 

Royals opener Liton Kumar Das, who had also struck a half century in the previous match, hit a 48-ball 75 and Shoaib Malik struck an unbeaten 43 off 25 balls as Rajshahi easily surpassed the 155/5 posted by Chattogram.

Key players

Both Chattogram and Rajshahi boast some of the tournament’s top-performing local batsmen. 

Kayes has stood out for Chattogram, while Liton has been in excellent knock for the Royals.

Chattogram's Chris Gayle in action at the BBPL in Mirpur Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

Kayes is currently the top scorer for Chattogram and fourth highest run-scorer overall this season, with 437 runs at an impressive average of 54.62 and strike rate of 133.63. 

Either opening the batting or at No 3, Kayes has consistently given the Challengers a strong platform with four half centuries in the tournament, so far.

On the other hand, Rajshahi’s Liton has struck 424 runs at an average of 35.33 with a strike rate of 139.01. 

He has performed a similar role to that of Kayes for Chattogram, consistently giving his team a good start. 

Liton is currently sixth in the highest run-scorers list, and has hit three half centuries this season.

Chattogram's Mehedi Hasan Rana celebrates during their BBPL match against Cumilla Warriors in Chittagong Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

Among the overseas players, all eyes will be on Chris Gayle for Chattogram and Shoaib Malik for Rajshahi.

Gayle has only played three innings in this season of the BBPL, and is yet to get a big score. 

However, the Windies hard-hitter has a reputation for winning matches by himself and is one of the most destructive batsmen in history.

On the other hand, Malik has established himself as a consistent performer for Rajshahi throughout the season. 

He is the side’s top-scorer with 423 runs, and fifth on the overall top-scorers list.

 Rajshahi’s Liton Das plays a shot during their BBPL match against Chattogram in Mirpur Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

The Pakistani all-rounder boasts a batting average of 43.20 with a strike rate of 137.14, and has also chipped in with five wickets.

In terms of the bowlers, it will be all about Chattogram’s specialists against Rajshahi’s team effort.

Pacers Rubel Hossain and Mehedi Hasan Rana have been brilliant for the Challengers, picking up 18 and 17 wickets, respectively. 

No other bowler on their team comes close to the two.

Meanwhile, the wickets are more evenly spread out among the Rajshahi bowlers, and Mohammad Irfan is the top wicket-taker for the Royals with 10.