Table-toppers, Jaffna Stallions square off against second-placed Colombo Kings in the Lanka Premier League (LPL 2020).
Jaffna is yet to lose a match in this tournament so far. They defeated Kandy Tuskers by a comfortable 54-run margin in their last match.
Colombo lost by 28 runs to Dambulla Viiking which was their first defeat of the season after two wins in a row.
The opener, Minod Bhanuka of Jaffna has had successive failures with the bat. He can be replaced with the explosive Johnson Charles who can score runs at a brisk pace. Jaffna's bowling looks good with all the bowlers chipping in with wickets at frequent intervals.
Thikshila de Silva of Colombo is out of form and can be substituted with Kalana Perera or Lahiru Udara instead.
Pitch and Conditions
The team batting first has won the last six matches at Hambantota. Hence, the bowlers can be confident of their ability to take wickets once the dew settles in. The movement on offer during the initial stages of each innings must be fully exploited.
Probable Playing XI
Jaffna Stallions: Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka/Johnson Charles, Dhananjaya de Silva, Tom Moores (wk), Shoaib Malik, Thisara Perera (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chaturanga de Silva, Usman Shinwari, Duanne Olivier, Suranga Lakmal
Colombo Kings: Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Laurie Evans, Thikshila De Silva/ Lahiru Udara, Angelo Mathews (c), Andre Russell, Ashan Priyanjan, Isuru Udana, Qais Ahmad, Dhammikka Prasad, Dushmantha Chameera, Jeffrey Vandersay.
Angelo Mathews vs Wanindu Hasaranga
Mathews has not set the stage on fire for Colombo. The skipper was dismissed for just 11 runs in the last match as he failed to take his team past the line. He is one of the crucial middle-order batsmen who can play in any position and can construct an innings intelligently with composure. He is tactically very strong.
Hasaranga had a productive spell in the last match conceding a miserly 17 runs and scalping two wickets in his four-over quota. His clever variations and ability to extract turn can trouble Mathews who will aim to play freely and try to attack.
Thisara Perera vs Andre Russell
Perera once again delivered with the bat with a blazing 68 off just 28 balls deservingly winning the man of the match award. He is a proven match-winner and has benefited from the hard work put in his practice sessions. He plays to his strengths and rotates the strike frequently.
Russell had a good day with the ball taking three wickets in two overs against Dambulla but failed with the bat scoring only five runs. He can take the game away from the opponents with his blistering cameos. The West Indian has struggled for consistency and needs to play a big knock to get back his confidence.
Jaffna will aim to continue their unbeaten run with another victory. They also have a very strong net run rate at the moment. Colombo will be determined to get back to winning ways after a defeat in their last game.
Cricwizz predicts Colombo Kings to win the match