Rangpur Riders looking for bounce back victory against Rajshahi Kings
Published : Sunday, 13 January, 2019 at 12:18 PM Count : 402
After an agonising two-run defeat at the hands of the runaway leaders, Dhaka Dynamites, Rangpur need a win today. In the last afternoon game of the first phase of this year’s Bangladesh Premier League, Rangpur’s opponents are Rajshahi who have their own needs for victory. The Kings have won once in three matches so victory would keep them in touch with the top four in the table.
Rangpur have been boosted by the form of Rilee Rousouw. The South African is currently the top run scorer in the BPL, with 186 runs, and is averaging 93.00. Rousouw’s 83 against Dhaka had set his team up for victory before Alis Islam’s game-changing hat-trick. Superstar batter Chris Gayle has not fared so well so far with an uncharacteristic nine runs from his two innings. Rajshahi will be on notice that the big-hitting West Indian’s form will change at some point and this match might be the day.
Rangpur’s bowling unit is being led by Mashrafe Mortaza. The 35-year-old is joint leading wicket-taker with Chittagong’s Robbie Frylinck and team-mate Shafiul Islam. Mortaza’s bowling performances have been impressive not only in terms of strike-rate (12) but in their economy (5.75). Mercurial English all-rounder Benny Howell is underlying his worth with tight bowling performances. Conceding at less than five runs per over, Howell’s bowling efficacy gives coach Tom Moody plenty of options.
Last time out, Rajshahi fell foul of an inspired Shahid Afridi performance. Their one win came against strugglers Khulna but it’s the batting that will have disappointed Rajshahi’s coach, Lance Klusener, the most. With a solitary fifty for Mehidy Hasan Miraz, runs have been difficult to score. The telling statistic is that Isuru Udana’s defiant 32 against Comilla has taken him to the top of the batting averages.
Rajshahi’s bowlers have performed better with Udana and Mustafizur Rahman both taking wickets and keeping their economy rates below six runs per over. Improving on this will be key to Rajshahi beating Rangpur.
It’s difficult to see anything other than a Rangpur victory. If Rajshahi could catch the Riders cold, like Chittagong did in the opening game of the season, then they may be able to snatch the victory. However, it will need a marked improvement in all facets of the game if the Kings are to trouble a strong Rangpur team.