Date: 9 November 2016
Venue: Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka
Start Time: 2:00 pm
Two new franchises lock horns at the Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium: Khulna Titans and a re-branded Rajshahi Kings. It will be the first match for both teams in this season’s BPL, giving both teams an opportunity to open their points account in the tournament.
Having Bangladesh all-rounder Mahmudullah leading the side, the Khulna Titans squad has a balance of youth and experience. “The local boys will be playing a major role for the team”, said Titans head coach Stuart Law in an interview prior to the start of the tournament, giving further boost to the experienced Shafiul Islam and Mosharraf Hossain, who will lead the bowling attack. Alok Kapali and Mahmudullah will have some say with both bat and ball, while some exciting BPL debutants Abdul Majid and Hasanuzzaman will look to make an impression right away.
Khulna’s foreign recruits have been a result of some hard-done homework, and devoid of super-star names. Although in terms of recent performance and pedigree, the stat-books provide vital information on the overseas players the Titans brought in. West Indian lad Kevon Cooper, for instance, has not only played int eh BPL before, but is currently the highest wicket-taker in BPL history. His mates from Barbados, Andre Fletcher and Nicholas Pooran regularly provided explosive performances in T20 format this year. Benny Howell from England is the highest wicket-taker in Natwest T20 blast, while his compatriot Riki Wessels is a T20 veteran with truck-load of runs under his belt. A couple of bowlers from Pakistan complete the foreign quota for the Titans, one being feared left-arm pacer Junaid Khan, and the other, a promising left-arm spinner Mohammad Asghar. It will be interesting to see how the Titans will shape up its playing eleven, where a maximum of 4 foreign players can be played.
Rajshshi Kings will try to build up momentum under skipper Darren Sammy, and having the exciting Sabbir Rahman, Mehedi Hasan, Umar Akmal and Upul Tharanga in their batting ranks. Pakistan’s Mohammad Sami, all-rounders Kesrick Williams and Samit Patel gives balance in both batting and bowling, while reliable local players such as Farhad Reza, Mominul Haque, Abul Hasan and Rony Talukdar will look to cement places in the playing eleven.
With both teams fresh in the BPL and hungry for early success, a mouth-watering T20 match is in the cards.