Colombo and Kandy kick start the inaugural edition of Sri Lanka T20 League 2020 at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota.
Match Timings: Nov 26, 7:30 PM
Sri Lanka has finally come out with its own franchise-based league, and the first edition will start on Thursday with an opening clash between Colombo and Kandy. Both sides have signed some prominent T20 stars in the squad. Sri Lanka hasn’t played any competitive cricket since March, so it will surely help the players to warm-up for the upcoming international assignments.
Herschelle Gibbs has taken charge as the head coach of the Colombo franchise, and Angelo Mathews will lead the side. They got Andre Russell, who can offer some hard-hitting in Sri Lanka. Russell and Mathews can both provide depth with the bowl as well. The Kings have versatility in the final squad. The spin department is pretty strong with Afghan leg-spinner Qais Ahmad, and off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal. On the bench, they can even try Amila Aponso, and Jeffrey Vandersay in middle-overs.
Daniel Bell-Drummond might open for Colombo, who was the top-scorer in Blast this year. In middle-order, Sri Lankan star Dinesh Chandimal and Englishman Laurie Evans can boost Kings. The pace-attack is a weak part of this side despite having Isuru Udana and Dushmantha Chameera. Two Indian players Manpreet Gony and Manvinder Bisla will also play from Colombo, but their availability in the playing XI looks slightly poor.
Meanwhile, Kandy will be coached by Hashan Tillakaratne, and Kusal Perera has been appointed as the captain. They faced a big blow last week as Chris Gayle withdrew himself due to injury. Sohail Tanveer has also tested positive for COVID-19, so he won’t be available for the season. Dale Steyn has been announced the new replacement for him, but the South African pacer was off the colors in the recently concluded Indian T20 League. In the absence of Gayle, Kushal Parera can open with Brendon Taylor, who had a brilliant series in Pakistan with the bat. In top-order, Afghanistan International Rahmanullah Gurbaz will be a big boost. Kusal Mendis and Asela Gunaratne are likely to feature in the middle-order. The duo has been a key figure for Sri Lanka in recent years. Tuskers also have former Indian pacers Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel, who haven’t played a competitive T20 in the last two years. Nuwan Pradeep will have a big responsibility who had previously performed high for Sri Lanka in white-ball. Vishwa Fernando, Dilruwan Perera, and Lasith Embuldeniya would be good options in pace-attack.
Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium is a fine batting track, and it’s quite similar to Indian grounds. It’s a night affair, so we might expect dew later in the game. Spinners can trouble in middle-overs. Chasing would be an ideal call on this ground.
Kalana Perera, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Angelo Mathews, Ashan Priyanjan, Andre Russell, Isuru Udana, Manpreet Gony, Dushmantha Chameera, Qais Ahmed
Asela Gunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Brendan Taylor, Priyamal Perera, Irfan Pathan, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Dale Steyn, Munaf Patel, Vishwa Fernando
T20 Blast 2020 – M: 11, Runs: 423, Avg: 42.30
Domestic season 2020 – Innings: 7, Runs: 308, Avg: 60.16
Pakistan tour – M: 6, Runs: 235, Avg: 39.16
WI ODI series – M: 3, Runs: 194, Avg: 64.67