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A team that has won both their matches this season will take on a side yet to open their account as Jaffna Stallions face Kandy Tuskers in the Lanka Premier League (LPL 2020)

Jaffna amassed a huge total of 218 against Dambulla Viiking to win by 66 runs. Dambulla had them struggling at 36-4 but Jaffna recovered strongly with cameos from Chaturanga de Silva and Wanindu Hasaranga while Thisara Perera played a captain's knock of 97 with eight fours and seven sixes.

Kandy lost to Dambulla by a narrow margin of four runs in a rain-curtailed encounter. Their outcome against Galle Gladiators is yet to be known at the time of writing. Nuwan Pradeep and Kaveeshka Anjula were taken apart as the duo conceded 90 runs in their five overs.

Head to Head

The teams will be playing each other for the very first time.

Team News

Jaffna is playing like a well-oiled unit so far with their strong batting line-up. Their bowling is also clicking as all their bowlers are taking wickets at regular intervals. Usman Shiwari had a fantastic outing as he bagged 3 wickets for just 16 runs.

Kandy needs to get a win on board. They lack the finishing power when it comes to chasing. By including Brendan Taylor in today's match against Galle, they have bolstered their middle order. The experienced Munaf Patel will also play a key role.

Pitch and Conditions 

A score of 200 plus can be expected as this pitch is an absolute belter. Teams can win the toss and chase as dew can play a major role. With a flat deck on offer in Hambantota, the bowlers have not been given much assistance. and they require an all-round effort to make frequent breakthroughs.

Probable Playing XI

Jaffna Stallions: Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka, Tom Moores (wk), Shoaib Malik, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chaturanga de Silva, Usman Shinwari, Duanne Olivier, Binura Fernando

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, Munaf Patel.

Key Battles

Shoaib Malik vs Seekkuge Prasanna

Shoaib Malik vs Seekkuge Prasanna LPL
Malik has immense exposure at the highest level of the sport while Prasanna can play spoilsport with his accurate line and length. 

The experienced Malik scored 23 and 27 in his last two games against Dambulla and Galle respectively. He is a dependable batsman with a water-tight defence. His lofted drives and horizontal shots are a treat to watch when he gets going. He can frustrate opponents with his effective slogging.

On the other hand, Prasanna conceded 20 runs in his three overs against Dambulla in the last match. He can unsettle Malik with his variations with the cherry. He is a tricky leggie who can control the run flow effectively.

Asela Gunaratne vs Thisara Perera

Asela Gunaratne vs Thisara Perera LPL
Perera is one of the best all-rounders while Gunaratne is due for a big knock. 

Gunaratne chipped in with the ball with his handy medium pace grabbing two wickets and conceding 20 runs in his three overs. He has not been getting much time in the middle and been chipping in with just short cameos. 

Perera is in ominous form after a match-winning 97 against Dambulla. He is an attacking batsman who uses his international experience to clubber the bowlers. If he maintains his consistency and counter-punching batting style, he can be a vital cog for Jaffna in the latter stages of the league.

Prediction

Jaffna will aim to maintain their unbeaten run in the tournament, while Kandy badly needs to taste victory after two continuous losses. It will be a direct contest between Jaffna's deep batting line-up and Kandy's experienced bowling attack.

Cricwizz predicts Kandy Tuskers to win the match