Launchpad in Chattogram?

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The sporting and batting-friendly wicket at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur for the Dhaka leg of the Bangabandhu Bangladesh Premier League (BBPL) came as a pleasant surprise for those who had complained about difficult pitches of BPLs past.

At the start of the previous edition, there was much dissatisfaction among batsmen about the slow and low nature of the surface.

Low-scoring matches have remained a feature of opening-phase games, much to the disappointment of spectators who went to the stadium to see sixes and fours — the biggest draw of T20 cricket.

This time, however, the pitch at the home of cricket was livelier, offering proper bounce and carry, which allowed both batsmen and bowlers to make the most of the surface.

Even with the more helpful surface, none of the eight matches so far have been edge-of-the-seat thrillers and the lack of high-scoring matches has been the disappointing aspect of the BBPL so far.

Dhaka Platoon posted the highest total in the BBPL with 182 for four and went on to register a 24-run win over Sylhet Thunder.

Mohammad Mithun’s unbeaten 48-ball 84 for Sylhet against Chattogram Challengers is the highest individual knock so far.

As the tournament resumes today in Chattogram, with the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium known as a batter’s paradise that offers a lot of runs, the fans will be hoping for some high-scoring affairs much like last season.

After a series of low-scoring matches in Dhaka in the last edition, it was the Chattogram leg that saw the first century of the season, which was swiftly followed by the second in the same game.

Alex Hales and AB de Villiers struck twin hundreds for Rangpur Riders to post the highest total in the history of the BPL of 239 and went on to win comprehensively by 72 runs against Chittagong Vikings.

In fact, four of five hundreds last season were scored at the ZACS, the exception being Tamim Iqbal’s blistering century against Dhaka Dynamites in the final in Mirpur to clinch the second title for Comilla Victorians.

So, all eyes will be on the port city this time too as the BBPL starts its second leg from today.

With two wins in as many games, Rajshahi Royals will be eyeing their third straight win against Khulna Tigers, who have won their only game of the season against Chattogram.

Rajshahi’s hard hitting wicketkeeper -batsman Liton Das, who has been in fine touch with scores of 39 and 44 not out in the first two matches, is eyeing a big knock.

“Obviously, we always set a target to score big, but T20 cricket is something where you have to face different situations batting first or going for the chase. Obviously, if I get the opportunity, I would like to play a big innings.

“The pitch in Mirpur was very good and we never encountered such [a pitch at the venue] before, and I was surprised that even 150-170 runs were chased easily, which normally does not happen. I think it will remain the same in Chattogram,” said Liton yesterday.

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