Bangladesh Premier League Play-Offs 2016: Preview & Best Bets
With the Bangladesh Premier League having reached the closing stages, there are four games left, as the best four teams from the BPL enter the Play-Offs to decide who will lift the trophy in 2016. Let's take a look at the best bets for the matches coming up.
BPL Play-Offs: Schedule, Format & Preview
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6
Eliminator - winner qualifies for Qualifier 2
Chittagong Vikings vs. Rajshahi Kings
The eliminator will be tense - there's a lot more to lose when one team will call this their final game. Rajshahi Kings and Chittagong Vikings met very recently, with Afif Hossain taking five wickets in a match that would suggest the Kings go into this fixture with the better form and confidence.
The Raj Kings certainly have a number of game-changers to call upon, including captain Darren Sammy and Bangladesh national hero Mominul Haque, but theirs is not the most star-studded of squads and has had to rely on collective effort to take the six wins they have managed.
Chittagong Vikings, on the other hand, perhaps expected better results than they have got, having snapped up West Indies stars Chris Gayle - the record-breaker himself - and Dwayne Smith. Taskin Ahmed has had some notable games in the BPL, following up his great form in the England series that preceded, but other players expected to step up, like New Zealander Grant Elliott, have not been able to bring their A-games.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6
Qualifier 1 - loser goes to Qualifier 2, winner goes to Final
Dhaka Dynamites vs. Khulna Titans
There's a bit more of a safety net for these two teams, who finished first and second in the BPL. It's a quirk of the system that the leader of the regular BPL season might end up losing the league to the fourth-best side, but that's what the fans like.
In a fairly evenly-matched season up and down the league, Dhaka Dynamites have appeared, with eight wins and four losses, to be the most thoroughly-prepared and best all-round team in the BPL. That is partly a result of Dwayne Bravo's falling-out with the West Indies Cricket Board giving him a bigger focus on domestic cricket, but the balance of the side was further augmented by the performances of Kumar Sangakkara, who is a true inspiration to young players wherever he goes, and can still hit the boundary with the best of them. Sangakkara and team-mate and compatriot Mahela Jayawardene show the benefits of adding experienced but team-spirited internationals.
Khulna Titans have shown major power in batting innings, with South African Riki Wessels stepping up and scoring big when his team needed him, quite often in partnership with captain and local boy Mahmudullah. If these two are allowed to build an innings by the Dynamites' attack, this game could bring a surprise result.
Following these initial play-offs, we have:
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7
Qualifier 2 (winner of Eliminator and loser of Qualifier 1)
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9
Final (winner of Qualifier 1 and winner of Qualifier 2)