Dhaka Gladiators v Khulna Royal Bengals, BPL semi-final February 27, 2012

Khulna hold edge after group-stage victories

Match facts

February 28, Mirpur
Start time 1830 (1230 GMT)

Big Picture

Khulna Royal Bengals had to wait until their final league game to confirm a place in the semifinals and they completed the job in style, beating Sylhet Royals by 69 runs. They go into the final four as the second best team in the competition.

Khulna should be confident against Dhaka Gladiators, who have misfired with the bat for most of the tournament. Dhaka have Mohammad Ashraful, Imran Nazir and Azhar Mahmood in the top-order but they haven't performed to expectation. With the addition of Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal, however, Dhaka's bowling attack is stronger.

Khulna will rely on the all-round abilities of Shakib Al Hasan, Dwayne Smith and Andre Russell, while Nasir Hossain will be expected to play a major role with the bat.

In the spotlight

Khulna have relied on their captain Shakib Al Hasan despite the presence of bigger Twenty20 names in their line-up. Shakib will once again have to lead from the front, especially with his batting, since Khulna have been flat at times too.

Azhar Mahmood will lead Dhaka's opening salvo with both bat and ball. He may not be as young as Smith, Russell or Shakib, but he's still got it with the new ball and against the new ball.

Form Guide (most recent first)

Khulna Royal Bengals WLLWW
Dhaka Gladiators - LWLWL

Head To Head

Khulna beat Dhaka by seven wickets in their previous game, and also won the first game by 19 runs.


"If you see their (Gibbs' and Jayasuriya's) performances, then I would have to say no. They have a reputation and we have not got the performances we expected from that."
Shakib Al Hasan, the Khulna captain.

"Throughout the tournament I think the batting has been a concern. We are struggling with our batting."
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, the Dhaka captain..

Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka