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|AB de Villiers||1||2||0||0||50.00|
It hasn't been long since the midway stage in the Bangladesh Premier Leauge, but the points table now is looking a lot different what it looked like at that time. Dhaka Dynamites, who once looked invincible, have lost their supremacy to Chittagong Vikings and are now at the second slot. The Vikings have been brilliant in their last few matches with regular contributions from their middle order. They are set to lock horns with Rangpur Riders in their next match which is to be played at Chattogram on 25th January. After the joining of AB de Villiers, the Riders have looked an altogether different team and have posted two consecutive wins. Chattogram as a venue is still an unexplored territory for all the sides in the tournament and it will be interesting to see what strategy these two teams employ going into the game.
After a mediocre start tournament, the way Chittagong Vikings have picked up the pace is really astonishing. In the earlier part of the competition, they appeared to be over-reliant on Robbie Frylink who got them across the line on more than a few occasions. They have come a long way from that and are arguably looking the best team of the side.
Their last match's performance was one instance of the team-work they've exhibited in the past few matches. Bowling first against Rajshahi Kings, their bowlers got them off to a dream start picking two wickets inside the first for overs without too much score on the board. Such was the discipline maintained by their powerplay bowlers that Kings could only score eight runs in the first 24 deliveries. Although Laurie Evans held one end brilliantly, the Vikings kept chipping away with the wickets and ended up restricting Kings to just 158. Sunzamal Islam was the pick of their bowlers as he returned with the incredibly economical figures of 19 for 1 in four overs.
Chasing a modest total, a good start would have ensured a smooth sail for the Vikings. However, Cameron Delport and Yasir Ali departed in quick succession leaving their side in a spot of bother. A hole was only bigger and deeper a few overs later with four down and more than half runs to get. Mosaddek Hossain and Mushfiqur Rahim then combined to stitch a brilliant 88-run stand as the duo overhauled the total with two balls to spare.
So far in the tournament, their middle-order batting has complemented their openers beautifully and on occasions where quick burst was required at the end, Robbie Frylinck has always been there for them. With a deep batting lineup and a wide array of bowlers in their attack, the Vikings will be a tough side to beat in all the matches going forward.
M Shahzad, Yasir Ali, Mushfiqur Rahim, Sikandar Raza, N Zadran, Mosaddek Hossain, Robbie Frylinck, Khaled Ahmed, Robiul Haque, Sunzamul Islam, Abu Jayed.
Before the tournament began, the Riders were perceived as the most powerful unit by many cricket pundits across the globe. Rightly so with the presence of batting stalwarts like Chris Gayle, Rilee Rossouw, Alex Hales, and AB de Villiers. On top of that, they have Mashrafe to lead them with good local talent.
However, they lost their way after a reasonable start and looked down and out until AB de Villiers joined them. Since AB's joining, the Riders have chased down two huge totals. AB de Villiers has no doubt played an important role in both their wins, there have been important contributions from others as well. Rilee Rossouw has been wonderful since the beginning of the tournament and has scored 359 runs at an outstanding average 89.75 which is almost double of the next best batsman on the list. Chris Gayle and Alex Hales finding some form in their last match was another good thing happened to them in their last few days.
Not many times have we seen Chris Gayle play a sheet-anchor role, but the last match one such occasion. He looked assured at the crease while Alex Hales and AB de Villiers smashed Titans' across the park. Gayle and Hales both scored a fifty each whereas AB de Villiers contributed with a quick-fire 41. Rossouw finished the deal with a blistering six over mid-wicket.
Rangpur Riders are a lot similar to IPL's Royal Challengers Bangalore as far as their team combination is concerned. They have an explosive batting lineup with the power concentrated at the top. They also bat deep with Mashrafe Mortaza able to tonk the ball around when required. Also, they have some apparent voids in their bowling attack. However, considering the batting they have, they are capable of chasing any total down or setting huge totals. One thing is certain with Riders that on their day, it's going to be a nightmare for opposition bowlers.
Chris Gayle, AD Hales, AB de Villiers, Mohammad Mithun, Rilee Rossouw, Nahidul Islam, Mashrafe Mortaza, Farhad Reza, Nazmul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Shahidul Islam.
Both the teams will like to gather some wins and consequently the momentum as we move to Chattogram for the final leg of the tournament. For Rangpur Riders, every win carries massive importance as far as their qualification for the next round is concerned and the Vikings will be looking to finish in the top-two so as to get into the playoffs with a one-match cushion. Chasing huge totals is never an easy task, but that is something Riders have done perfectly in their last two games. All of their batting stalwarts have runs behind them and it's not going to be easy for Vikings' bowlers to bowl against the powerful batting lineup consisting of AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Rilee Rossouw, and Alex Hales. Both the teams have looked in red-hot form in their last two matches and it's expected to be a thriller of a game. Rangpur Riders appear to be having a slight advantage due to the frightening aura their top-order has and we think they are going to finish ahead in the upcoming contest.
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