Comilla Victorians will face Rangpur Riders in the BPL 2017 Qualifier 2 at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Sunday.
Both teams canceled their scheduled practice session Saturday due to slight drizzle. And according to weather forecast, it is likely to rain Sunday as well so the toss in the evening match could well prove to be crucial.
Rangpur defeated Khulna Titans by eight wickets in the Eliminator Friday at the home of cricket in Mirpur, thanks to big hitter Chris Gayle, who smashed an unbeaten century and eventually finished on 126 off 51 balls to lift his team to the second qualifier.
The Rangpur camp is confident that the West Indian great has found his destructive form at just the right moment. But the other big hitter, Brendon McCullum of New Zealand has not been in good right throughout the tournament as the Kiwi batsman has only scored 152 runs in 10 innings.
Rangpur captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza however, believes McCullum will find his feet in the next match as he is working hard to get back among the runs for his side.
“Obviously everyone wants big score from a player like McCullum. He is batting in an important position for us. He is working really hard. He is one of the most serious performers during the practice sessions. He played a couple of good innings for us. T20 cricket does not offer you the time to settle down at the crease. It takes time when you are out of form. This type of wicket is quite difficult for him to adjust. But I still believe he will step up in the next match,” said Mashrafe.
Comilla in contrast, have played brilliant cricket in BPL 5, clinching nine wins out of 12 matches. But they faced a tough day in the office in Qualifier 1 against holder Dhaka Dynamites, going down by 95 runs.
Comilla captain Tamim Iqbal said it was a bad day on the field for the Victorians but believes they will bounce back against Rangpur. Tamim also admitted that Gayle is one of the main threats for them after his heroic innings in the Eliminator.
“The way we played throughout the tournament, it was a bad day for us against Dhaka. But against Rangpur, it will be a new game for us. Rangpur played well in the Eliminator. Particularly, Gayle batted superbly. If he bats like this then he can score even 200! We got his wicket early on both occasions in the tournament. We will definitely try to take Gayle’s wicket early. Overall, we have to play really well to beat Rangpur,” said Tamim.
Comilla have similar concern like Rangpur as one of their big hitters in the form of England’s Jos Buttler is not in great form. The wicketkeeper-batsman has scored only 199 runs in 12 innings so far in BPL 5.
“Anything can happen in cricket. Often good batsmen find difficulties to score runs. We know how brilliant a batsman Jos Buttler is. If he can score runs then our batting unit will be more dangerous. Hopefully he will score big,” concluded Tamim.
The game begins at 6pm and the winner will face Dhaka in the grand finale Tuesday in Mirpur.