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After losing their opening match in a super over to Colombo Kings, Kandy Tuskers will aim to notch up a win against Dambulla Viiking who are playing their first match in the LPL 2020.

Kandy had a great outing with the bat with Afghan teenager, Rahmanullah Gurbaz smashing a quickfire 53. Kusal Perera played a captain's knock of 87. 

 Asela Gunaratne got his mojo back with a good cameo of 33. 

It was a forgettable night for the bowlers as only Nuwan Pradeep and Naveen-Ul Haq got some wickets. They could not control the run flow as Gunaratne, Irfan Pathan, and Kaveeshka Anjula were taken to the cleaners. 

Dambulla has a great opening pair with the experience of Paul Stirling and Upul Tharanga. Their middle order looks solid with the presence of Niroshan Dickwella and Dasun Shanaka. 

Head to Head

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

Team News

Pathan will be missing out with a hamstring injury and Munaf Patel can come in as an ideal replacement. Even Naveen-Ul Haq is carrying a niggle. Kandy can take in Vishwa Fernando instead. 

Viking has a complete bowling attack with the veteran Samit Patel and the local duo of Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha. They also have Aftab Alam as a backup option.

Pitch and Conditions 

Hambantota is no doubt a batsman-friendly venue as seen in the last game. With an early start in the afternoon, dew will not play a big factor. The pacers can expect some initial swing in the first few overs of the match. 

Probable Playing XI:

Kandy Tuskers: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Asela Gunaratne, Seekuge Prasanna. Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Munaf Patel, Kamindu Mendis, Kaveeshka Anjula, Lasith Embuldeniya. 

Dambulla Viiking: Upul Tharanga, Paul Stirling, Niroshan Dickwella. Dasun Shanaka, Samiullah Shinwari, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Perera, Samit Patel, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Ashen Bandara. 

Key Battles:

Kusal Perera vs Kasun Rajitha

Kusal Perera Kasun Rajitha LPL
Perera will look to continue his good form while Rajitha will aim to hit the deck hard. 

The skipper led the way with a brilliant knock in the last encounter. He was striking the ball fearlessly and aggressively. He batted nearly the whole innings. His square cuts and pick-up hits were a delight to watch. 

Rajitha has raw pace at his disposal. The right-arm quick has a lanky frame and a tall arm bowling action. If he bowls an accurate spell for a long time, he could trouble the free-flowing Perera.

Paul Stirling vs Nuwan Pradeep

Paul Stirling vs Nuwan Pradeep LPL
Stirling has immense experience in the format while Pradeep can take wickets at regular intervals. 

Stirling is known to provide attacking starts at the top of the order. He must control his nervousness that he faces at the start. If he comes in with a clear mind and proper game plan, the bowlers are in for a tough day.

Pradeep conceded 34 runs and bagged two wickets in the last game. Stirling must watch out for his clever outswinger. Since he is a tearaway quick bowler, he can generate good pace with his slingy action. He can nip the ball around using the little swing to his advantage.

Prediction 

It is clearly a direct contest between Kandy's in-form batsmen and Dambulla's experienced bowlers. Dambulla will look to begin with a win. They lack the batting depth and the onus lies on the bowlers to restrict Kandy to a chaseable score.

Cricwizz predicts Kandy Tuskers to win the match.