After a chaotic final day of the league phase, the knock-out leg of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League will commence today, where one team will book their berth in the final while one is certain to make an exit.
In the first match, Chattogram Challengers and Dhaka Platoon will face off in the eliminator, where the winning team will move on the second qualifier while the losing team will leave the competition.
The top-two teams, Khulna Tigers and Rajshahi Warriors, will then battle it out in the first qualifier to determine the first finalist of BPL7.
Both matches will take place at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. GTV and Maasranga TV will live telecast the matches.
The line-up of today’s matches changed drastically in the last day of the league phase as Chattogram, who had dominated most of the tournament, crashed out of the top-two while Khulna, who were the last team to confirm a top-four berth, ended up winning the league phase.
On Saturday, Chattogram lost to Rajshahi by eight wickets to be demoted to third position while Khulna also defeated Dhaka by eight wickets in a run-fest under the floodlights to jump to the top of the table.
Khulna, Rajshahi and Chattogram, all ended on 16 points after the league phase, but Chattogram missed the cut because of an inferior net run rate while Dhaka made it to the knockout stage with 14 points.
Chattogram wicketkeeper batsman Nurul Hasan claimed not to be thinking about their fall from the top and to be focusing on their all-important clash against Dhaka today.
‘Our next match is against Dhaka tomorrow [today]. I think we need to give our full focus on it. If we can give our 100 per cent, something good will happen,’ Nurul told reporters at Mirpur on Sunday.
‘I think both our team and their team are equal. It will depend on who plays better on the field,’ he added.
Dhaka skipper Mashrafee bin Murtaza suffered a cut on his left palm against Khulna and had to take 14 stitches, but was likely to captain the side in the knock-out fixture.
Khulna and Rajshahi sealed their top-two finish riding on a century and half-century of their local recruits Nazmul Hossain and Liton Das respectively.
Nazmul struck a blistering 115 to topple Dhaka batsman Mominul Haque’s 91 while Liton hit a clinical 75 to oust Chattogram from the first qualifier.
Rajshahi all-rounder Alok Kapali felt that local players will again make the difference in their qualifier clash against Khulna.
‘I feel whichever team’s local players play better, will win the match. If you notice we have the highest number of local players among the top-four teams. We have plans for all [local players]. We already know about the foreign players. We will give more emphasis on the local players,’ Kapali said.
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