Two teams who won their respective opening matches face-off as Dambulla Viiking takes on Jaffna Stallions in the LPL 2020.
Dambulla did everything right as they put up a massive 195 on board with Samit Patel's 58 and skipper, Dasun Shanaka's unbeaten 73. Kandy Tuskers who were right in the chase till the last moment ended up losing only by four runs via the DLS method.
Kusal Mendis could have played a bit faster as his knock of 34 off 26 balls were not great as per T20 standards.
Oshada Fernando retired hurt due to an ankle injury in the last match and he will be out for a week missing at least three games.
Dambulla can take in Paul Stirling instead as he is a proven T20 specialist.
Jaffna may not make any changes to their team. Their new-ball pacers, Binura Fernando and Kyle Abbott need to deliver the early breakthroughs after both of them went wicketless in the last match.
Pitch and Conditions
Hambantota is no doubt a batting-friendly surface and the last two matches have been won by the team batting first. Hence, the key is to pose a huge total and defend it successfully. The match will start in the afternoon and there is no chance of dew playing a factor. The bowlers must make use of the initial movement available.
Probable Playing XI
Dambulla Viiking: Upul Tharanga, Paul Stirling, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dasun Shanaka (c), Samit Patel, Lahiru Madushanka, Ramesh Mendis, Malinda Pushpakumara, Anwar Ali, Lahiru Kumara, Sudeep Tyagi.
Jaffna Stallions: Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka, Tom Moores (wk), Shoaib Malik, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chaturanga de Silva, Kyle Abbott, Duanne Olivier, Binura Fernando.
Avishka Fernando vs Anwar Ali
The youngster dazzled with a match-winning 92 and won the man of the match award too. Fernando has carried on his exploits from youth cricket (under-19). He negated Mohammad Amir's threatening opening spell and targeted compatriots, Mohamed Shiraz and Milinda Siriwardana with seven hits above the fence.
Anwar bowled a tight spell conceding only 13 runs in two overs and taking a wicket in the last match. He can generate good pace and swing the ball both ways. He is a vital bowler for the Dambulla team and will aim to keep Fernando under control at the start.
Dasun Shanaka vs Duanne Olivier
Shanaka played a captain's knock of 73 to take his team to victory and also deservingly bagged the man of the match award. He has cemented his place in the lower-middle order for Dambulla with his hard-hitting abilities.
Olivier scalped four big wickets to put the breaks on Galle Gladiators. The South African hit the deck hard with his quick arm speed. He got the ball to effectively nibble around with his front-on bowling action.
It is a difficult match to judge as both teams are in form with a few players firing well. Jaffna has a better experienced all-round side and stronger bowling attack and might edge Dambulla in a thriller.