The Royals lose the first qualifier against Khulna Tigers, their final opponent, Monday at the same venue but bounced back in the second qualifier and clinched a stunning win over Chattogram Challengers Wednesday
Rajshahi Royals captain Andre Russell is banking on his in-form opening pair Liton Kumar Das and Afif Hossain to give a solid start in the grand finale of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 Friday evening at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka.
The Royals lose the first qualifier against Khulna Tigers, their final opponent, Monday at the same venue but bounced back in the second qualifier and clinched a stunning win over Chattogram Challengers Wednesday.
Russell scripted a brilliant comeback and snatched victory from the brink of defeat, hammering 54 off just 22 balls with two fours and seven maximums.
Russell though shifted the focus from him onto the opening duo of Liton and Afif and expressed hope that the right- and left-handed combination will shine once again in the final.
“In any team, once you have two good batters at the top and they keep giving you good scores in the first six overs, I think Afif and Liton have been doing a very good job for us. They struggled last game but I am not going to say they don’t help and I think they are going to give us the start that we really need. We know we didn’t win against those guys a couple of nights ago but I hope they keep doing well, keep expressing themselves and with confidence. I know everyone is pumped. Let’s hope we have a good show,” said Russell to the media before the final Thursday.
Toss could be an important factor as generally, chasing is easier at the home of cricket in Mirpur.
With that said, the Royals lost the Qualifier 1 despite opting to field first and Russell said they need to play all-round cricket to emerge victorious in the special edition of the BPL.
“Well the toss is important. But as you see, what happened when we played them a couple of nights ago, they batted first and put the runs on the board and the pressure kind of put us in the backfoot. We kept losing wickets when chasing a decent target so if we bat first, we’ve to try and get over 170. We’ve no control once that coin goes up in the air. Just have to hope that it falls on the side that you called so let’s see what happens,” Russell explained.
The 31-year old Russell is not only the captain of the side but also a match winner on his day, be it with the ball or the bat or in the field.
The West Indian all-rounder though said he doesn’t feel pressure as he is used to such expectations.
“No extra pressure on me. I am accustomed to pressure. Batting under pressure, bowling under pressure moments so, this is just an added pressure to me and I’m learning as well and just trying to be the best I can be every game I play and lead this guys,” he concluded.