About the Match
The places for the knockout stages of the Bangladesh Premier League 2017 have been sealed and it is just a matter of jostling for places within the top-4. Taking it easy could also lead to a loss of momentum and so teams will want to ensure that they stay focused in a tournament that does not allow for too many lapses. Both the teams in this contest, the Comilla Victorians and the Khulna Titans, have already qualified, and so this contest could be a dress rehearsal of a much more important encounter down the line.
With 8 wins from 10 matches, it would be fair to call the Comilla Victorians as the team of the BPL 2017 this season. They have consistently found players to get them out of a hole as well as players that have been reliably consistent in this tournament.
Experienced campaigners such as Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, and Shoaib Malik in this team have allowed the others to play with a lot of freedom and take risks at crucial times. Jos Buttler’s availability for the entire tournament so far has also been a big plus as the Englishman brings with him some of the most varied knowledge of T20 conditions around the world.
Marlon Samuels has also found a second wind and shut up detractors that wondered about his commitment to the game at this stage of his career.
Now, with Pakistani players like Hasan Ali also becoming available to the Victorians, their team looks only stringer going into the business end of this tournament.
A couple of issues from the last match stand though. The Comilla Victorians bowled brilliantly led by Mehedi Hasan who took four wickets to bowl the Rangpur Riders out for 97 runs.
That is a total that should have been gunned down with ease but was eventually achieved with the loss of 6 wickets. The Victorians are strong title contenders but must try and keep their players focused to avoid such lapses in the future.
One of the best teams to watch this season, the Khulna Titans have also confirmed a place in the knockouts despite their loss to the Rangpur Riders in their last match. The Titans have been typified by some outstanding performances from players like Joffra Archer, Craig Braithwaite, Abu Jayed, and Mahmudullah all of whom are young and could set the cricketing world alight with their exploits in years to come.
The presence of Michael Klinger at the top of the order then to provide some stability and level-headedness is also welcome.
Another well-rounded team, the Titans are a strong batting team with the ability to bowl out teams cheaply as well. Nicolas Pooran, Nazmul Shanto, and Shaiful Islam have also been regular contributors to the success of this team which means that there are plenty of players in form and not just a couple that are carrying the team on their shoulders.
If there is a weakness in this team then we believe it is a tendency to collapse after the loss of a few initial wickets. The middle order is filled with players that go for their shots and it looks brilliant when it comes off but fails spectacularly when it does not.
A slight reshuffling of the order to ensure that they have a mix of the aggressive and the cautious at the crease will serve them well. The Titans are losing form at the wrong time and will want to arrest that slide soon.
Pitch and Conditions
A clear day lies in store for us at Mirpur according to the current weather forecasts. The pitch has been slower than in other venues and made batting difficult s far and we expect nothing much to change ahead of this match as well.
Two string batting lineups might need to reassess the scores they go for on this pitch or else risk falling way short.
The last three matches between the sides have ended in a victory for the Comilla Victorians on two occasions including the most recent two. We think they could stretch that lead to three.
Comilla Victorians to win