Galle Gladiators take on Jaffna Stallions for the second time in the Lanka Premier League.
Jaffna had defeated Galle by eight wickets last week. Galle are coming into this match with a 25-run loss against Kandy Tuskers. Chasing a challenging target of 197, only Danushka Gunathilaka impressed with the bat scoring 82 while the rest of the batsmen could not convert their starts into big knocks.
Jaffna outplayed Dambulla Viiking by 66 runs in their last game dismissing them for 152. Jaffna is yet to lose a match in this tournament. Their outcome against Kandy Tuskers is yet to be known at the time of writing this article.
Mohamed Shiraz of Galle had a bad day in the office conceding 52 runs in his quota of four overs. They can bring in the local pacer, Dhananjaya Lakshan or Waqas Maqsood instead.
Jaffna will be concerned about the form of their top order, Minod Bhanuka and Tom Moores who have failed to get going. They have a few options like Johnson Charles and Nuwanidu Fernando sitting on the bench.
Pitch and Conditions
Jaffna discovered that Hambantota had something on offer for the bowlers if they manage to bowl long spells consistently. Though putting up a big total and defending it seems to be the mantra this season, Jaffna is good both at batting first and chasing. The initial swing available must be exploited by the pacers.
Probable Playing XI
Galle Gladiators: Danushka Gunathilaka, Hazrathullah Zazai, Azam Khan (wk), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Milinda Siriwardana, Shahid Afridi (c), Shehan Jayasuriya, Mohamed Shiraz/ Dhananjaya Lakshan, Mohammad Amir, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan
Jaffna Stallions: Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Tom Moores (wk), Shoaib Malik, Thisara Perera (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chaturanga de Silva, Usman Shinwari, Duanne Olivier, Suranga Lakmal
Danushka Gunathilaka vs Usman Shinwari
Gunathilaka dazzled with a delightful 82 in a losing cause for his side. He was never intimidated by the bowlers and played fearless smashing 13 boundaries. He is a key player for Galle as he can hit shots all over the park forcing the opponents to change their game plan.
Shinwari bagged three wickets for just 16 runs in the last game. The left-armer used his outswinger to good effect. He can trouble Gunathilaka with his raw pace and tight length.
Dhananjaya de Silva vs Lakshan Sandakan
Silva was looking good when he was batting on 16 until Samit Patel castled him. He is a technically sound batsman who is highly capable of rescuing his side from dire straits. His style of play is artistic and looks pleasing to the eye. He is a crucial player for Jaffna's middle order.
Sandakan scalped two wickets conceding 41 runs in his four overs in the last game. The chinaman bowler can turn the ball both ways with immense control. His awkward action can trick even the best of batsmen. He is also very calculative in implementing his tactics possessing a calm head on his shoulders.
Jaffna is flying high as they are unbeaten in the tournament so far. Galle will be inching to get back to winning ways after losing their last match. It will be a direct shootout between Jaffna's deep batting line up and Galle's variety of bowlers.
Cricwizz predicts Galle Gladiators to win the match.