Jaffna Stallions square off against Galle Gladiators in the second match of the Lanka Premier League.
Jaffna has a well-settled middle-order with Thisara Perera, the experienced Shoaib Malik, and the talented Dhananjaya De Silva. They will miss the services of top-ranked T20 player Dawid Malan and youngster, Avishka Fernando will have his task cut out at the top.
With Shahid Afridi missing his flight, Danushka Gunathilaka and Hazratullah Zazai will look to give a strong start.
Jaffna has plenty of bowling options in Suranga Lakmal, Kyle Abbott, and Duanne Olivier. Perera and Malik can also chip in a few overs when needed.
Galle's bowling will depend on Mohammad Amir and the local duo of Lakshan Sandakan and Akila Dhananjaya. They have a couple of surprise packages lined up in Nuwan Thushara and Asitha Fernando.
Pitch and Conditions
With dew expected to play a big factor, defending any target would be a tough task. Pacers will use to make maximum use of the initial movement available as Hambantota is generally a batsman's paradise once the match starts going. An equal contest can be expected between the bat and the ball if a side loses early wickets.
Probable Playing XI
Jaffna Stallions: Avishka Fernando, Johnson Charles (WK), Minod Bhanuka, Charith Asalanka, Nuwanidu Fernando, Thisara Perera (C), Dhananjaya de Silva, Shoaib Malik, Suranga Lakmal, Duanne Olivier, Kyle Abbott.
Galle Gladiators: Hazratullah Zazai, Danushka Gunathilaka, Colin Ingram, Bhanuka Rajapaksa (C), Asitha Fernando, Milinda Siriwardana, Mohammad Amir, Nuwan Thushara, Azam Khan (WK), Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan.
Johnson Charles vs Mohammad Amir
Charles is an aggressive opener and a big-hitter. He needs to hit a big knock as Jaffna needs him to stay for a long time at the top.
If there is one bowler who can evoke fear in the eyes of the opponents right from the start, it has to be Amir. His inswinging curler and deadly yorker can get Charles out early. Amir must let the ball do the talking having been left out of the squad for the tour to New Zealand.
Colin Ingram vs Suranga Lakmal
Ingram is a lethal striker of the ball and an experienced T20 campaigner. His grace and timing along with his elegant shotmaking is a delight to watch when he gets going in full flow. He is a key figure for Galle, who does not have much batting depth in their side.
Lakmal has raw pace and can swing the ball effectively. He needs to improve his death bowling and use the yorkers more frequently. He is a wicket-taker who can quickly make an impact.
Though Galle lacks batting firepower, their bowling attack looks solid. Jaffna has more experienced campaigners and impact players. The match could be determined by fine margins.
Cricwizz predicts Jaffna Stallions to win the match