The much-awaited play-off of the Lanka Premier League 2020 (LPL 2020) is set to begin on Sunday and the first semi-final will feature the Colombo Kings, who finished on top of the points table, and Galle Gladiators, who narrowed their way to the playoffs after edging past the bottom dwellers Kandy Tuskers on basis of net run-rate.
The Colombo Kings had to fight it out against Dambulla Viiking in the last match of the group stage which was held on Friday. Both the teams have faced each other on two occasions this season and they stand one apiece. The first meeting was a rain-curtailed 5-over thriller in which the Kings managed to win by 34 runs after setting them a humongous target of 97 to get from their 5 overs.
The second time the teams met, Gladiators were given a target of 172 to chase down, given the caliber of the Colombo Kings bowlers the score seemed enough for them to get the two points. The Galle side though has different ideas, they went to win the match by 8 wickets with 15 balls to spare and registered their first win of the season.
The momentum is with the Colombo Kings. Said that the play-offs can put even the best teams under a pressure. Can the Kings make their way to the finals? Will the Galle Gldaiators spring a surprise?
Match Toss Time: 18:30 Local (18:30 IST)
Match Start Time: 19:00 Local (19:00 IST)
Match Venue: Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota
The conditions are well in favor of the sport as clear skies are expected throughout the day. The temperature is expected to be a bit on the higher side as it is likely to hover in the range of 31- 27 degrees. The Humidity at the peak is expected to touch the 61 percent mark.
Runs. Yes, Hambantota has been all about the runs and the curators have been done a fantastic job to keep the pitch intact despite the heavy usage. With not much for the bowlers, we are likely to once again watch a high-scoring game. With the match scheduled to be played in the evening, the dew factor could play a major role, and for that reason, the team winning the toss should be looking to chase down.
Any target of 190 plus is likely to put the chasing team under pressure and the added pressure of knock-out could also take a toll on the teams.
Colombo Kings did experiment few of the youngsters in the game against Viiking and it was also used as an opportunity to provide rest to their key players who have been having a hectic schedule. With all to play for, Kings would be going in with their best line-up. Though the form of Dinesh Chandimal might be a concern, given his experience, he could play out the big game well.
Galle Gladiators were dealt with a huge blow when their skipper Shahid Afridi had to leave for his homeland owing to a personal emergency. Gladiators will be feeling happy to make it this far in spite of missing many of their key players. The bowling has been not up to the mark for the Gladiators and they will be hoping their spearhead Mohammad Amir can deliver the goods in this all-important encounter.
Probable Playing Xl
Colombo Kings (CLK): Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Laurie Evans, Thikshila de Silva, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Angelo Mathews (c), Andre Russell, Ashan Priyanjan, Isuru Udana, Qais Ahmad, Tharindu Kaushal, Dushmantha Chameera
Galle Gladiators (GGD): Danushka Gunathilaka, Ahsan Ali, Bhanuka Rajapaksa (c), Azam Khan (wk), Hazratullah Zazai, Shehan Jayasuriya, Sahan Arachchige, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Lakshan Sandakan, Mohammad Amir, Nuwan Thushara
CLK vs GGD Fantasy Team
Dinesh Chandimal, Azam Khan, Laurie Evans, Thikshila de Silva, Danushka Gunathilaka, Ashan Priyanjan, Andre Russell, Qais Ahmed, Dhanajaya Lakshan, Mohammad Amir, Lakshan Sandakan
Captain Picks: Danushka Gunathilaka (GGD), Laurie Evans (CLK)
Vice-captain Picks: Andre Russell (CLK), Shehan Jayasuriya (GGD)
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