Mushfiq faces Russell dual in final

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:01, Jan 16,2020


Khulna Tigers captain Mushfiqur Rahim (L) and his Rajshahi Royals counterpart Andre Russell unveil remove the cover of the BPL trophy at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Thursday. — BCB photo

Khulna Tigers and Rajshahi Royals have several match winners in their team but special eyes will be on both the teams’ skipper Mushfiqur Rahim and Andre Russell in the Bangladesh Premier League final today.

Both the players had different kind of outing in the latest edition of BPL with Mushfiq delivering consistent performances throughout the tournament and played key role in his team’s success in the competition so far.

Russell failed to live up to the expectations in most part of the season with bat though he made some occasional breakthroughs chipping in 12 wickets with the ball.

The Caribbean all-rounder was finally able to make his presence felt when he smashed an unbeaten fifty in the second qualifier against Chattogram Challengers to prepare himself in the best possible way for the final showdown.

From the start of the BPL7, Mushfiq led Khulna from the front and played several match-winning innings, which helped his side finish the league stage on top with eight wins from 12 matches.

The 32-year old made 470 runs in 13 innings at an average of 78.33 and struck four fifties on his way to become the leading run-getter in the tournament so far, which also made him the prime contender for the man of the tournament award.

He also came close to completing his maiden Twenty20 hundred twice only to fall short for four and two runs respectively against Rajshahi and Cumilla Warriors in the league stage.

Russell, on the other hand, had a low-key performance with bat making just 144 runs in nine innings before the second qualifier which he won almost single-handedly with 54 off 22 balls.

A similar performance in the final could easily turn the table for Russell and help him win the top award denying Mushfiq. 

Russell, however, said he was not just looking a personal dual with Mushfiq but concentrate on other match winners of the side in the final.

‘We’re not going to look at any individual players,’ he said on Thursday.

‘You never know whose day it will be tomorrow...they have a lot of match winners so we’re gonna plan for the entire team. We’re going to make sure that we plan properly and come out and execute.

Apart from Mushfiq Khulna have an in-form Rilee Rossouw and Mohammad Amir to look into.   Rossouw made second-highest 458 runs at an average of 45.80 while Amir recorded tournament’s best ever performance with 6-17 in the first qualifier against Rajshahi. 

Rajshahi also have an in form cricketer in Shoaib Malik who forced his back into the Pakistan team against Bangladesh on Thursday on the bank of his performance in BPL, where he made 446 runs so far.

Rajshahi’s opening batsmen – Liton Das and Afif Hossain also had their career-best BPL outing this year as they scored 430 and 360 runs respectively making the final more than a Mushfiq-Russell dual.

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