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Dambulla Viiking takes on Kandy Tuskers in another scintillating showdown in the Lanka Premier League. Dambulla had defeated Kandy by four runs in a rain-curtailed clash last week.  

Dambulla defeated Colombo Kings by 28 runs successfully defending a total of 175. It was a complete team effort from their bowlers as all of them took wickets.  

Kandy defeated Galle Gladiators by 25 runs. Their outcome in today's match against Jaffna Stallions is yet to be known at the time of writing this article.

Team News

Paul Stirling has not fired in the last two matches getting dismissed cheaply. Dambulla has recently added wicketkeeper-batsman, Sadeeera Samarawickrama to their squad and will be tempted to try him out.  

After adding Brendan Taylor to their lineup, Kandy's middle order is stronger now. Naveen-ul-Haq needs to control runs and they still have bowlers like Dale Steyn and Vishwa Fernando waiting on the bench.

Pitch and Conditions  

Both the teams won their last respective games by batting first which seems to be the likely trend. With dew playing a huge role, the chasing team can never expect to have it easy. The bowlers can take wickets regularly if they stick to a consistent line and length. 

Probable Playing XI

Dambulla Viiking: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Paul Stirling/ Sadara Samarawickrama, Upul Tharanga, Samit Patel, Dasun Shanaka (c), Lahiru Madushanka, Ramesh Mendis, Pulina Tharanga, Anwar Ali, Malinda Pushpakumara, Sachindu Colombage

Kandy Tuskers: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Kusal Perera (c & wk), Kusal Mendis, Brendan Taylor, Asela Gunaratne, Seekkuge Prasanna, Dilruwan Perera, Kamindu Mendis, Nuwan Pradeep, Naveen-ul-Haq/ Dale Steyn, Munaf Patel.

Key Battles

Upul Tharanga vs Dilruwan Perera

Upul Tharanga vs Dilruwan Perera  LPL
Upul Tharanga vs Dilruwan Perera

The southpaw scored 25 runs against Colombo. He can play some delightful strokes when he is in full flow. Tharanga is a mature player and can single-handedly build an innings and win a match for his side.  

Perera conceded 26 runs against Galle taking a wicket and gave away 30 runs against Jaffna. His main weapon is the arm ball which can deceive the batsmen regularly. The off-spinner is a crucial bowler for Kandy and has made use of the coaching he received from the legendary Muttiah Muralidharan.  

Ramesh Mendis vs Kusal Mendis

Ramesh Mendis vs Kusal Mendis  LPL
Ramesh Mendis vs Kusal Mendis

Mendis smashed a quick-fire 49 off just 30 balls against Galle. He is a naturally aggressive batsman blessed with a pleasing range of strokes and immense maturity. He has been playing consistently for Kandy in this tournament and is due for a big knock soon.  

Ramesh was the only bowler who could control Jaffna as he conceded only 25 runs in his four overs. The off-spinner bowls a tight line and does not give much room for the batsman to play freely and attack. Mendis will have to attack right from the start to put pressure on Ramesh.  

Prediction  

With both teams having won their last matches, this clash could go down to the wire. Kandy will aim to make it two wins in a row and get revenge after last week's loss to Dambulla. Dambulla has a poor net run rate at the moment and will aim to improve that by registering a comfortable victory.  

Cricwizz predicts Dambulla Viiking to win the match.