Barisal named fourth semi-finalist after much confusion
February 28, Mirpur
Start time 1400 local (0800 GMT)
The first semi-final of the BPL will have the team that finished first in the league playing the team that finished fourth. Duronto Rajshahi finished first, with 14 points, but until 2.00 am on the morning of the semi-final, it wasn't clear who finished fourth.
Initially, on Sunday, it was announced that Barisal Burners were through to the semis, after their victory against Chittagong Kings, on the basis of net run-rate. At that point, the other two spots were going to be contested between Chittagong, Khulna Royal Bengals and Dhaka Gladiators.
On Monday, after Dhaka lost narrowly to Rajshahi and Khulna beat Sylhet Royals, Khulna went to second place with 12 points, leaving Dhaka, Barisal and Chittagong tied on 10 points at the end of the league phase.
In the head-to-head results between the teams level on 10 points, Dhaka had beaten Barisal twice and Chittagong once and had a superior net-run rate and qualified for the semi-finals in third place. That now left Chittagong and Barisal in contention for the fourth spot.
Chittagong had two wins, against Barisal and Dhaka, while Barisal had only one, against Chittagong. Barisal's net run-rate, however, was better than that of Chittagong. It was initially announced that Chittagong were in the semi-finals, presumably on the basis of a better head-to-head record in the three-way tie on 10 points, which included Dhaka. At 2.45 am this morning, however, the BPL issued a release which said that Barisal was the fourth semi-finalist, presumably because their head-to-head record with Chittagong - not including Dhaka who had already qualified - was tied and they had a better net run-rate.
The upshot of all this confusion was that Rajshahi had ample time to prepare mentally for their knockout clash, while their opponents were left in limbo until the wee hours of the morning.
In the spotlight
The hard-hitting Jamaican, Marlon Samuels, will be eager to finish his stint with Rajshahi on a high note as he prepares for his maiden foray into the IPL in April.
Barisal will rely heavily on their captain Brad Hodge, who came good in the crucial game against Chittagong with a scintillating 67. He called the tournament fun but will have to take it seriously in the semifinals.
Form guide (most recent first)
Barisal Burners WLWWL
Duronto Rajshahi WWLWW
Head to headBarisal won the first game by 22 runs, while Rajshahi came back with a nine-wicket win in the return leg.
"If we can play well tomorrow and win the semi-final, then I can take stock of how well we played. Our first target was to reach the semi-finals, and our second target now is playing the finals and winning the trophy."
Rajshahi captain Mushfiqur Rahim.
Edited by George Binoy
Mohammad Isam is senior sports reporter at the Daily Star in Dhaka