Khulna upbeat to regain form


Gemcon Khulna is upbeat about their chance to make a strong comeback in the Bangabandhu T20 Cup despite failing to live up to the expectation in the first leg of the tournament.

They will start the second-leg, taking on Fortune Barishal today at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium. The match starts at 12 PM as the technical committee of Bangabandhu T20 Cup changed the match times for this Friday’s match only, reports BSS.

Khulna, a star-studded team bolstered with the likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudulllah Riyad, made a decent start to the tournament with a four-wicket win over Fortune Barishal in the first leg. They achieved full two points but the victory was such hard fought and came by a touch of luck that they were criticized even for the victory.

They in fact earned the victory from the jaws of the defeat as Ariful Haque produced a unbelievable innings by hitting four sixes in five balls when Khulna needed 22 runs to win in the last over.

Khulna then lost two consecutive matches against Minister Group Rajshahi and Gazi Group Chattogram before bouncing back to the winning way with a victory over Beximco Dhaka in the last match. They are now sitting at third position in the point table with four points.

However to improve their position, they are aiming to hand struggling Barishal a defeat yet again.

“There was a gap of one year almost [due to Covid-19] so it was tough to give the 100 percent,” said Khulna assistant coach Aftab Ahmed.

“But players are trying hard and gradually are getting back to the form. I think after four matches, we are in better shape now. Hopefully we’ll achieve our target in the next four matches.”

Aftab admits that they were in pressure after playing bad cricket in consecutive two matches.

“After doing badly in the first two matches, the players feel a pressure, so it was tough to make a comeback for them. But they practiced hard and now got back to a shape. Hopefully we will show our real strength in the next matches.”

Fortune Barishal however had just one win in four matches, which left them in fourth position in the five-team tournament. They and Dhaka have same two points but Barishal avoided bottom table due to good run rate.

But Tamim Iqbal-led side knew that they couldn’t afford another defeat if they want to keep them in the last four races.

“We have to play well if we want to keep us in the last four races. We have an inexperienced team but we showed fighting spirit. Nonetheless we just couldn’t take the result in our favour. Hopefully the players will bounce back in the next match,” captain Tamim said.