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Bangabandhu T20 Cup: Advantage Gemcon Khulna; Fortune Barishal weakest in five-team tournament

Mohammad Saifuddin's injury might worry Minister Group Rajshahi, while Beximco Dhaka depend on youth and Gazi Group Chattogram on quality batting

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Gemcon Khulna's Shakib al Hasan and Mahmudullah (in the background) gear up for the Bangabandhu T20 Cup  •  BCB

Gemcon Khulna's Shakib al Hasan and Mahmudullah (in the background) gear up for the Bangabandhu T20 Cup  •  BCB

With the Bangabandhu Cup T20 competition beginning on November 24, ESPNcricinfo takes a closer look at the five participating teams.
Gemcon Khulna
Gemcon Khulna easily seem to be the best team on paper. There were expectations that each of the five sides might opt for one of Shakib al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mustafizur Rahman with their first call from Grade A, but Khulna got both Shakib and Mahmudullah after Minister Group Rajshahi instead went for Mohammad Saifuddin. That has left Khulna with the best middle order any team in this tournament could have hoped for.
Khulna's draft calls were also praiseworthy. Following picking Shakib and Mahmudullah for their middle order, they also selected experienced openers Imrul Kayes and Anamul Haque. That apart, they have the cushion of Ariful Haque and Jahurul Islam - both of them did well in the Bangladesh Premier League. Shuvagata Hom, Zakir Hasan, Salman Hossain and U-19 allrounder Shamim Hossain remain back-up choices in the batting department.
Khulna have also picked two of Bangladesh's most prominent domestic T20 bowlers: Al-Amin Hossain and Shafiul Islam. Either of Hasan Mahmud and Shahidul Islam is likely to be the third seamer, while left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam and legspinner Rishad Hossain make up an impressive spin department to go with Shakib.
Potential XI: 1 Imrul Kayes, 2 Anamul Haque (wk), 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mahmudullah (capt), 5 Ariful Haque, 6 Shuvagata Hom, 7 Shamim Hossain, 8 Shafiul Islam, 9 Nazmul Islam, 10 Hasan Mahmud, 11 Al-Amin Hossain
Gazi Group Chattogram
Another team with good potential, Gazi Group Chattogram have a number of high-quality top and middle-order batsmen. Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar will open the batting in a line-up where Mohammad Mithun, Mosaddek Hossain and the veteran Shamsur Rahman follow. Young Mahmudul Hasan Joy also has all the makings of a solid middle-order presence.
Coach Mohammad Salahuddin opted for a left-arm pace attack with Mustafizur as his Grade A pick, as well as Under-19 World Cup winner Shoriful Islam and the little-known Mehadi Hasan from the current U-19 camp. Salahuddin also took left-arm spinners Taijul Islam and Rakibul Hasan - also an Under-19 World Cup winner - as well as talented offspinner Sanjit Saha.
Potential XI: 1 Liton Das (wk), 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Mominul Haque, 4 Mohammad Mithun (capt), 5 Mosaddek Hossain, 6 Shamsur Rahman, 7 Ziaur Rahman, 8 Taijul Islam, 9 Rakibul Hasan, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Shoriful Islam
Beximco Dhaka
Coach Khaled Mahmud has gone for a mostly young squad for Beximco Dhaka. But on picking Mushfiqur with the first call of the draft from Grade A, he has set in motion a batting line-up that looks both exciting and dependable.
Youngsters Tanzid Hasan and Mohammad Naim are slated to open, followed by Mushfiqur, Sabbir Rahman and Yasir Ali before a bit of inexperience sets in. Akbar Ali and Shahadat Hossain, both likely to bat in the middle-order, will have their work cut out if coach Mahmud ends up picking four bowlers. But on the slow Shere Bangla National Stadium pitch, offspinner Nayeem Hasan and left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed are essential, while Rubel Hossain has shown good form recently and left-arm quick Mehedi Hasan Rana had a good 2019-20 BPL outing.
Allrounder Muktar Ali and left-arm quick Abu Hider are also part of the youthful squad.
Potential XI: 1 Tanzid Hasan, 2 Mohammad Naim, 3 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt & wk), 4 Yasir Ali, 5 Sabbir Rahman, 6 Akbar Ali, 7 Shahadat Hossain, 8 Nayeem Hasan, 9 Nasum Ahmed, 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Mehedi Hasan Rana
Minister Group Rajshahi
A lot will depend on Najmul Hossain Shanto, Nurul Hasan, Mahedi Hasan and Mohammad Saifuddin - who enters the tournament with an ankle injury - for Minister Group Rajshahi to progress in the tournament. They have been in the BCB's training camps during the last few months and also looked in good touch during the President's Cup last month.
But with Rajshahi not picking a single cricketer from the previous Under-19 side, their squad has got a slightly older look, having chosen veterans Mohammad Ashraful, Raqibul Hasan and Arafat Sunny. Allrounder Fazle Mahmud would be batting in the middle order along with wicketkeeper Nurul and Jaker Ali, and around allrounders Farhad Reza and Saifuddin.
Coach Sarwar Imran also went for experienced bowlers like left-arm spinners Sunny and Sunzamul Islam, with Ebadot Hossain and Mukidul Islam in the pace department.
Potential XI: 1 Najmul Hossain Shanto (capt), 2 Rony Talukdar, 3 Mahedi Hasan, 4 Nurul Hasan (wk), 5 Fazle Mahmud, 6 Mohammad Saifuddin, 7 Jaker Ali, 8 Farhad Reza, 9 Arafat Sunny, 10 Sunzamul Islam, 11 Ebadot Hossain
Fortune Barishal
Fortune Barishal start off as arguably the weakest team on paper. Despite picking Iqbal with their first call, Barishal went on to take three other openers. That has left them with few middle-order options and just one allrounder. A lot will depend on wicketkeeper-batsman Irfan Sukkur, who showed decent form during the President's Cup, as Barishal lack batting depth after Mehidy Hasan Miraz.
Barishal have picked Taskin Ahmed and Abu Jayed among their four pace bowlers, as well as left-arm spinners Tanvir Islam and Sohrawordi Shuvo as well as legspinner Aminul Islam.
Theirs remains a team with a lot to prove.
Potential XI: 1 Tamim Iqbal (capt), 2 Afif Hossain, 3 Saif Hassan, 4 Irfan Sukkur (wk), 5 Towhid Hridoy, 6 Mahidul Islam, 7 Mehedi Hasan Miraz, 8 Sohrawordi Shuvo, 9 Tanvir Islam, 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Abu Jayed

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84