Dambulla Viiking takes on Jaffna Stallions in the second semifinal of the Lanka Premier League.
Dambulla and Jaffna faced off twice in the group stages with Jaffna winning once and the other match was a no result due to rain.
Dambulla lost to Colombo Kings in their last match. Niroshan Dickwella and Angelo Perera have been impressive with the bat along with Dasun Shanaka. Upul Tharanga needs to find the form or else he might be replaced by Paul Stirling. Malinda Pushpakumara and Anwar Ali were too expensive in the previous game. Dambulla may have to recall Ramesh Mendis and Kasun Rajitha.
Jaffna was also defeated by Colombo by six runs in their last game. Binura Fernando gave away too many runs. Duanne Olivier is not picking wickets regularly. Johnson Charles needs to strike form to ease down the pressure on the middle order. Charith Asalanka may retain his place ahead of Minod Bhanuka. Thisara Perera can be given more overs.
Pitch and Conditions
Hambantota has proved to more of a batsman's paradise with teams chasing down huge scores successfully. Even totals exceeding 200 cannot be relied upon. The bowlers can reap the dividends if they hunt as a pack.
Probable Playing XI
Dambulla Viiking (DVK): Upul Tharanga/Paul Stirling, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Samit Patel, Lahiru Madushanka, Angelo Perera, Dasun Shanaka (c), Ramesh Mendis, Samiullah Shinwari, Malinda Pushpakumara, Anwar Ali/ Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara
Jaffna Stallions (JST): Johnson Charles, Tom Moores, Charith Asalanka/ Minod Bhanuka (wk), Shoaib Malik, Chaturanga de Silva, Thisara Perera (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Duanne Olivier, Suranga Lakmal, Binura Fernando/Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Usman Shinwari.
Angelo Perera vs Usman Shinwari
Perera smashed an unbeaten 74 in the last match. He is a dangerous player when he gets going. His prime spot is at the number three position but Dambulla has used him in the middle order to support Shanaka.
Shinwari was rested for the last game and may force his way back into the side. The left-armer is a proven match-winner who can dismantle any batting attack on his day. His stock delivery is the menacing outswinger. He has scalped 7 wickets in five matches this season.
Samit Patel vs Shoaib Malik
Malik scored 29 runs in the previous game. He is the backbone of Jaffna's middle order. With his massive international experience, he is a dependable batsman in the shorter format of the game. He is blessed with spectacular horizontal shots.
Patel conceded 31 runs in his four-over quota and took a wicket in the last match. The experienced left-armer is suited to play in the conditions of the subcontinent. He can bowl tight overs at the start and also restrict the run flow in the middle overs with his wily variations.
It is a direct battle between Dambulla's in-form batting lineup and Jaffna's variety of bowlers. Dambulla can pose a big total if they bat first and Jaffna's chasing abilities are in doubt.
Cricwizz predicts Dambulla Viiking to win the match.