Chittagong Kings v Sylhet Royals, BPL, semi-final February 16, 2013

The battle for the final

Match facts

February 17, 2013
Start time 1800 (1200 GMT)

Big Picture

Sylhet Royals would take heart from the gumption they have shown against Dhaka Gladiators. After Chris Gayle had flattened them with a century, it would have been easier to fade into the background of such a performance. Instead, they took the fight right till the end. It gave them the momentum to take on Chittagong Kings, who beat Duronto Rajshahi to make it to the second semifinal.

The Royals would like to continue to play as the underdogs. It is a tag that has suited them so far, although a team that has Dwayne Smith and the marauding Mushfiqur Rahim alongside Elton Chigumbura has enough firepower to knock over a big total. They have some runs due from Paul Stirling, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Mominul Haque.

The composition of their bowling attack would once again hover around who they pick between Dirk Nannes and Sajidul Islam. Common sense on a wicket like Mirpur would urge the Royals to pick all their overseas batsmen but leaving aside Nannes hardly makes sense even though Sajidul, his replacement, took three wickets.

Kings' win in the elimination match over Rajshahi would give them enough reason to believe they can knock out the Royals. But they were not tested enough to feel the need of Brendan Taylor, their in-form batsman who left for Zimbabwe. They are likely to pack the team with allrounders, but ultimately a lot will depend on Ryan ten Doeschate and Mahmudullah with the bat.

Form Guide

(Most recent first, completed matches)
Sylhet Royals LWWLW
Chittagong Kings WLWLW

In the spotlight

Mushfiqur Rahim will again be in the thick of things whether with the bat or behind the stumps for the Royals. His brilliant 86 against the Gladiators showed he usually has the measure when the team is chasing. His captaincy will be tested too, particularly after some of his bowling changes completely backfired against Gayle.

The knockout match would be a huge test for Kings' pace bowler Rubel Hossain for whom bowling at the death has been quite a struggle. He has done well in one game out of three when they were defending a total, so if such a situation arises in this game, Rubel's over could be the clinching factor.

Team news

Paul Stirling and Dwayne Smith have been passed fit for the game, Smith however will not be able to bowl. The Royals could still go with Sajidul as the left-arm seaming option, despite having Nannes around.

Sylhet Royals (probable): 1 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 2 Paul Stirling, 3 Dwayne Smith, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), 5 Mominul Haque, 6 Elton Chigumbura, 7 Mohammad Nabi, 8 Nazmul Hossain Milon, 9 Suhrawadi Shuvo, 10 Sohag Gazi, 11 Sajidul Islam

Shaun Tait has been ruled out of the match with a groin injury which means Kings are unlikely to break the winning combination from the previous game.

Chittagong Kings (probable): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Nurul Hasan (wk), 3 Ravi Bopara, 4 Ryan ten Doeschate, 5 Mahmudullah, 6 Ariful Haque, 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Kevon Cooper, 9 Rubel Hossain, 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Enamul Haque jnr

Pitch and conditions

A sudden cold spell in Dhaka could reduce the amount of dew during the second innings, though the wicket will still benefit the batsmen.

Stats and trivia

Sylhet captain Mushfiqur Rahim is the third batsman to score more than 400 runs in this edition of the BPL.


"It is certain that the match will be highly challenging for both the sides but I'm confident that our boys would give their best effort in tomorrow's match."
Sylhet Royals coach Mohammad Salahuddin believes in his team's abilities ahead of the high-pressure match

"We have to be a lot more positive against Sylhet Royals, particularly with the bat. I think that's the only change in approach we need to make."
Chittagong Kings captain Mahmudullah says his team's batting will hold the edge

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent