Both Rajshahi Royals and Khulna Tigers eying to lift the trophy in the final of Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium at 7pm on Friday.
They played in the Qualifier-1 where Tigers beat Royals by 27 to advance to the final.In the league phase of the event, the Tigers won eight matches while Royals came up victorious in as many games. But the Tigers were at the top of the table due to better run rate than the Royals.
Now, the most successful two teams of the event are set to show their respective prowess in the final.
“We’d a very good match against Rajshahi the other day. It was actually a lot closer than it looked in the end. They are a serious team as well as a very good team. We’ve to play well tomorrow (Jan 17) to beat them. We need to be as prepared as we can be,” James Foster, the coach of the Tigers told the media at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
“We’re very confident to lift the trophy. We’ve won our last four games and they have all been pretty much knockout games for us. We are in a good rhythm, good space and ultimately it is all about delivering a good performance on the (match) day,” he added.
Royals’ captain Andre Russell also expressed his desire to lift the trophy in the final. He sparked with 54 runs off 22 balls with seven sixes to bring the Royals in the final against Chattogram Challengers.
While chasing for 147, Royals needed 82 runs off 40 balls when Russell took the field on Wednesday. The West Indian all-rounder made it possible with his tremendous batting effort and booked a place in the final.“Our only expectation is to win the trophy. We’ve nothing else on our mind than winning. The way we played last night (Jan 15 evening) as a team, we showed what we can do and I hope we can give a good account of ourselves tomorrow night (Jan 17),” Russell told the media at Sher-e-Bangla on Thursday.
Pakistan’s all-rounder Shoaib Malik, Liton Das, and the captain Andre Russell will be the key players for the Royals in the final. Liton and Malik scored 430 and 446 runs respectively with three fifties each for the Royals. On the other hand, Russell hit 198 runs with a fifty and took 12 wickets as well.
Tigers, on the other hand, will be relying on the captain Mushfiqur Rahim, South African batsman Rilee Rossouw, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir, South African all-rounder Robbie Frylinck.
With two 90-plus scores, Mushfiqur hit 470 runs with four fifties in BPL while Rossouw scored 458 with as many as fifties. Shanto scored 308 runs with a fifty and a century in a strike rate of 145.28. He has been enjoying a very good opening stand with Mehidy Hasan Miraz. Amir bagged 18 wickets in 12 matches while Frylinck took 19 wickets.
The toss might play a crucial role in the final of Bangabandhu BPL. Both the team expressed that they will be happy if the toss came their way.
Both the captains of Royals and Tigers attended a trophy unveiling and photo sessions on Thursday at Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Probable playing XI of Khulna Tigers: Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Rilee Rossouw, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shamsur Rahman, Robbie Frylinck, Najibullah Zadran, Shahidul Islam, Aminul Islam, Shafiul Islam and Mohammad Amir.
Probable playing XI of Khulna Tigers: Liton Das (wk), Afif Hossain, Shoaib Malik, Alok Kapali, Farhad Reza, Ravi Bopara, Mohammad Irfan, Andre Russell (c), Kamrul Islam, Taijul Islam and Abu Jayed.