Rangpur, Dhaka face final hurdle


Defending Champions Rangpur Riders will take on Dhaka Dynamites in the second qualifier of the sixth Bangladesh premier League with the last spot in the final up for grabs at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur today.
The match will start at 6:30 pm and will be televised live at GTV and Maasranga TV.
Dhaka clawed themselves back in the competition after five defeats in a row in the latter phase of the league-stage before securing their play-off spot as the fourth team in the points-table with a six-wicket win in their last group-stage match against Khulna Titans.
The win seemingly rejuvenated an underperforming Dhaka side as they completed a commanding six-wicket victory against Chittagong Vikings in the eliminator match on Sunday to keep themselves alive in the competition.
Dhaka coach Khaled Mahmud claimed that the momentum from their wins over Khulna and Chittagong had boosted his team’s confidence and transformed them into a better side.
‘Of course we needed some momentum. We got the momentum after beating Chittagong. That was actually very important for us. And the win against Khulna also gave us momentum. Now I feel the team is very confident,’ Mahmud told reporters on Tuesday.
Mahmud, however, was still wary of the opposition as they had lost the final of the previous edition to them.
‘The side led by Mashrafee [bin Murtaza] can’t be overlooked. They are an excellent fighting side. So, we will have to play some good cricket in tomorrow’s [today] match,’ he said.
Rangpur will be getting a second bite at the cherry after losing the first qualifier against Comilla Vikings on Sunday by eight wickets.
Rangpur, who had finished the group-phase at the top of the points-table, had previously brought up two thumping victories against Comilla in the league-phase, bundling out Comilla on 63 and 72, but failed to deliver when it mattered the most.
Rangpur coach Tom Moody termed Dhaka as a good side but urged his charges to grab the opportunity.
‘We are looking forward to the opportunity tomorrow against Dhaka. They are a good side, we all know that. But we are determined,’ Moody told reporters on Tuesday in a drug awareness event of the Rangpur franchise.
All eyes will be on Rangpur’s West Indian batsman Chris Gayle, who had single-handedly batted Dhaka out of the last edition’s final where he smashed an unbeaten 146 off 69 balls with a jaw-dropping display of power batting where the West Indian cleared the boundary a record 18 times.
Gayle, however, has been a shadow of his past self in this tournament with 188 runs in 11 matches with a lone fifty.
Gayle played a dogged 46 off 44 balls in the last match but he was still a long way from his menacing best.
Mahmud, however, remained cautious of Gayle as the havoc caused by the West Indian batsman in last edition’s final was still fresh in his mind.
‘The fact that Gayle is struggling is actually quite threatening. In the last final Chris Gayle singlehandedly beat us. Chris Gayle is Chris Gayle. He is incomparable. Will he hit or not is up to him,’ he said.