The Dhaka phase of the BPL 2017 starts Saturday in Mirpur’s Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. All the seven participating teams reached Dhaka Thursday after the Sylhet-leg of the money-spinning tournament and practised in Mirpur’s Academy Ground Friday.
Rajshahi Kings, Chittagong Vikings, Rangpur Riders and Khulna Titans trained in the morning session while holder Dhaka Dynamites, Comilla Victorians and table-topper Sylhet Sixers practised in the afternoon.
Rangpur will face Rajshahi in the afternoon match Saturday. Rangpur have lost one and won as many in their two games and their experienced batsman Shahriar Nafees believes the team will give a good account of themselves in the next match.
“Unfortunately we lost the last game due to Chittagong pacer Taskin’s [Ahmed] brilliant one over. That over was the turning point. Apart from that over, we had control during our chase. We did not bowl well at the beginning but made a comeback really well. We also batted well until that over from Taskin. We have played well in both matches but lost the last game. Hopefully we will play better [Saturday] and return to winning ways,” said Shahriar to the media in Mirpur Friday.
On the other hand, Rajshahi, the finalist of the previous edition, have lost both their opening matches of the cash-rich tournament and are desperate for their first win in the fifth edition of the competition.
“We faced similar situation last year when we failed to win in the opening stages of the tournament. Still we played the final last year. So we are hopeful that we will come back soon. Still we have 10 games in our hand. We need just one win at the moment to get the momentum. Hopefully we will do it [Saturday],” said Rajshahi all-rounder Mehedi Hasan Miraz to reporters.
Defending champion Dhaka will play the evening match against Sylhet Saturday. Dhaka have formed a star-studded squad with the likes of West Indies trio Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Evin Lewis. They also have former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi, also known as “Boom Boom” due to his big-hitting ability. Afridi arrived in the capital city and took part in practice Friday.
Dhaka have played two games so far. In the first match, they surprisingly lost to Sylhet but in the second game, they turned around and beat Khulna comprehensively.
In contrast, Sylhet started their campaign impressively as they won three of four matches. Sylhet will be looking to their batsmen once again, particularly their opening pair of Andre Fletcher and Upul Tharanga as both are in very good form.
Sylhet’s wicketkeeper-batsman Nurul Hasan said the team will definitely try to start their Dhaka phase with a win against the home side, just like they began the Sylhet phase with a win over the capital city outfit.
“Dhaka are a strong team. But our target will be to give our best and earn a win. Team spirit is our main motto. So we will target keeping our team spirit high [Saturday] and beat Dhaka again,” said Nurul after training.
Rangpur Riders v Rajshahi Kings, 2pm
Dhaka Dynamites v Sylhet Sixers, 7pm
Both the games will be held in Mirpur's Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium