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The Bangladesh Premier League is underway and there have been some exciting matches already. Two teams which won their previous matches in the BPL are going to be playing this match as the Comilla Victorians take on the Rangpur Riders.
The Comilla Victorians owe their victory in their opening match of the BPL to a brilliant all-round performance from Shahid Afridi. The Rangpur Riders, on the other hand, were propelled to victory by some good batting performances from Rilee Rossouw and Ravi Bopara.
Both sides will be keen to continue the good work in this match.
The Comilla Victorians are attracting a lot of attention this season in the BPL. They have Steve Smith leading the side, the most popular player in Bangladesh, Tamim Iqbal opening the batting, and the evergreen Shahid Afridi who is loved the world over.
We think the Comilla Victorians are an excellent T20 side and deserve attention for their cricketing skills as well.
The batting looks like it’s in good health thanks to Tamim Iqbal and Evin Lewis at the top. We believe Evin Lewis can be a game changer for the Comilla Victorians in this tournament. He is well equipped to take advantage of the powerplay overs and can score the quick runs that can make all the difference on low scoring pitches.
Following up this pair is Imrul Kayes, another excellent Bangladeshi batsman. He has come into his own over the last year or so and discovered another gear to his batting. With a middle-order comprising of Steve Smith, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, and Anamul Haque, the Comilla Victorians are not going to be short of batting power.
The slow surfaces that have been on offer in the tournament so far suggest that taking advantage of the new ball is going to be crucial and batters towards the top of the order will have an advantage. Stick with the top-3 while making your bets for top-scorers.
The Comilla Victorians bowling is pretty good as well. Shahid Afridi showed that time has not affected his skills in any capacity and he will continue to be a force in this tournament. With Mehidy Hasan, Abu Hider, and Shoaib Malik, the Comilla Victorians have plenty of international talent to call upon.
If the batting unit can the Comilla Victorians a par total then the bowling unit looks good enough to defend it on most occasions.
Tamim Iqbal, Evin Lewis, Imrul Kayes, Steven Smith, Mahedi Hasan, Shoaib Malik, Anamul Haque, SMSK Afridi, Mohammad Saifuddin, Abu Hider, M Shahid.
The Rangpur Riders went into this BPL with a truly frightening batting unit but some of their biggest names remain unavailable right now. They started the Bangladesh Premier League with a loss in which they were bowled out for 98 but put up a much better show in the next game.
They managed to score over 160 batting first and then hung on to a victory even though the Khulna Titans put up a spirited chase.
We are not very convinced about this Rangpur Riders batting as of yet. Rilee Rossouw played a very good inning opening the batting but that was just his first fifty in the BPL. He had a horror season last time around and does not have the best technique against spin.
Alex Hales is another batsman that has to prove himself against spin. He is going to be bombarded with spin as soon as he walks in and will need to show that he has the technique to counter that line of attack.
Ravi Bopara is the one player that we think is best equipped to score runs in these conditions but he may be batting a bit too low in the order. He is also not going to have too many chances to be promoted up the order because none of the other batsmen are comfortable batting lower down the order.
The Rangpur Riders will be hoping that Mohammad Mithun, Mehidy Maruf, and the other local players are able to contribute with the bat as well. The current state of this batting unit looks a bit precarious to us.
The bowling attack is spin heavy again as is the norm for BPL teams. The experience of Mashrafe Mortaza is quite valuable but just how fit he remains is a difficult question to answer. Him breaking down in the middle of the tournament could be a very difficult blow from which to recover.
Benny Howell is an extremely canny bowler and someone we recommend keeping an eye on. Backiong him to be the highest wicket taker in Rangpur Riders matches is not a bad idea at all.
Rilee Rossouw, Chris Gayle, Mehedi Maruf, Mohammad Mithun, RS Bopara, Benny Howell, Farhad Reza, Mashrafe Mortaza, S Gazi, Nazmul Islam, Shafiul Islam.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat first
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The BPL match between Comilla Victorians and the Rangpur Riders is going to be played at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur, Dhaka. The conditions to play in have been slow so far and are only going to get slower.
Teams will have to target scoring runs during the powerplay when the ball is hard and fielding restrictions are in place. A total of 150 is going to be a very good total to defend in our opinion.
The Comilla Victorians have an excellent side that covers almost all the bases with quality players. On paper, they are a much stronger side than the Rangpur Riders and we believe that they should win this match with ease.
Back the Comilla Victorians to win.
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