- Khulna Tigers have won two out of the three games they have played against the Rajshahi Royals this season
- Tigers’ Mushfiqur Rahman has been the top run getter this season and has scored close to 150 runs in the last four games
- Rajshahi Royals’ bowling attack looks one dimensional and only Mohammad Irfan has done well in the season
It has been an incredible tournament so far and we have seen great performances team wise and also from individual players in the 45 games that have been played over the last 5 weeks. It all boils down to the grand finale where the Khulna Tigers would take on the Rajshahi Royals. The Tigers stormed into the finals winning the first qualifier against the Royals. As for the side from Rajshahi they beat a very strong Chattogram Challengers in the second qualifier to earn their place in this game.
Both these sides come into the game with good squads. There is a good mix of youngsters as well as seasoned campaigners in both the camps. While the Tigers would take confidence from the fact that they had won two out of the three games the sides played earlier in the season the Royals camp would be high on spirits after their performance in the last game. It will be a battle of two giants and the fans are likely to be treated to a good contest.
The Tigers didn’t start the tournament with the most star-studded squad but they have played well as a team. Skipper Mushfiqur Rahman has led them from the front throughout the season. Their win in the last game against the Royals was the perfect testimony to the way they have played as a well-oiled unit. Rahman would look forward to carrying the same form into the next game.
Najmal Hossain Shanto is in good form at the top and his opening partner Mehidy Hasan has also done well. Mushfiqur Rahman is the leading run getter in the season and has steered his side to many wins. In Rilee Rossouw and Shamsun Rahman they have to in-form middle order players. Lower down the order Najibullah Zardan and Robbie Frylinck have also done well making them a consistent batting unit.
Mohammad Amir has used his experience well this season and his 6 wicket haul in the last game would make his confidence sky-high. Frylinck and Shahidul Islam and Shafiul Islam have also had good season with the ball. With someone like a Mehidy Hasan in the bowling mix they have the right resources going into the game.
Mushfiqur Rahman, Mohammad Amir and Rilee Rossouw are likely to be their best performers in the next game.
Andre Russell’s side pulled off a stunner in the 2nd Qualifier against the Chattogram Challengers. They looked to be going down till Russell produced one of his special knocks to take his side over the finishing line. This win would give them lot of confidence as they take on the Tigers. Russell would be aware of the form his opponents are in at the moment and expect his players to put their best in the next game.
Liton Das and Afif Hossain failed for the second consecutive time in the last game. These players had done well earlier in the season and would need to provide the side with a good start. Irfan Sukkur looks in good form. Sohaib Malik, Russell and Ravi Bopara make the middle order very strong for the side. The only thing that the skipper would be looking from his side is their ability to build partnerships which hasn’t happened in the last few games.
Their bowling attack looks a bit one dimensional as Mohammad Irfan has been the only bowler who has shown consistency. Russell and Aby Jayed have gone for runs in the last few games and Sohaib Malik too hasn’t looked in the best of form. Mohammad Nawaz had done well in the last game and this will add to the confidence in their camp.
Andre Russell, Sohaib Malik and Mohammad Irfan are the three players who will have to play an important role in the game.
It has been a season where bowling first seems to have the secret recipe to success at this venue. In the last five games played here the side chasing the score has emerged victorious on four occasions. It is a big pressure game and hence we expect the skipper winning the toss to follow the trend and opt for bowling first in this game.
PITCH AND WEATHER CONDITIONS
The wicket at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka has been a sporting one this season. While batsmen have been able to play their shots bowlers have also found some assistance in the early overs. Batsmen have to get their eyes in on the surface before they begin to play their shots. Spinners have found good assistance from the surface where the ball has stopped occasionally. A score in the range of 160 runs would be a competitive one on this surface.
It will be a typical winter evening at Dhaka where the temperature would be comfortable 20° C at the start of the game. It will also be humid and we expect humidity to be around the 67% mark in the game and 10% precipitation. Dew will settle on the ground in the later part of the second innings.
There would be pressure on both the sides going into the game. Khulna Tigers have been the more consistent of the two sides and hence they will start as favorites. The side has played more as a unit as compared to the Rajshahi Royals who have all been about individual brilliance this season.
The Royals cannot be completely counted out as they are a side that boasts of some of the finest t20 players who can win the match on their own as we saw in the last game where skipper Russell pulled them out from the pit to win the game.
The Khulna Tigers come with a better bowling attack and they have been able to check the run flow of their opponents well. Having won two out of their three games against the opponents they will start ahead of the Royals in the game.