The top two sides of the Sri Lanka T20 League will lock horns in the clash of the number–one spot on Friday. The winner will finish on the top and will play Galle in the first semifinal on Sunday.
Match Timings: Dec 11, 8 PM IST
The final league-stage game of the Sri Lanka T20 League will be played between Dambulla and Colombo. Both sides are sitting on the first two spots in the table. The match has no relevance to the semifinal qualification as Kandy were eliminated last night, and the tournament got its four semifinalists. Dambulla and Colombo both have five wins out of seven. The winner of this game will face the side who finished fourth. It’s not an advantage, but both sides would try to continue its winning momentum.
Colombo defeated in-form Jaffna twice in the previous three matches, and they also lost to Galle. On Thursday, they held the nerves to defend 173. Laurie Evans got the first ton of this tournament and remained not out on 108 off 65 balls. Andre Russell got a 3-for, and Qais Ahmad conceded just 15 in his 3-overs spell. Mathews would expect some runs from Drummond, who had a dull season so far. He scored one good knock, scoring 44 against Galle. The top-order is Colombo’s heart as Chandimal and Evans both are in solid form. Chandimal has scored 229 runs at an average of 57.25, while Laurie Evans contributed 236 runs at an average of 47.20. Colombo has to improve its bowling skills, which is the weakest part of them. Qais Ahmed is the only bowler who controls the runs and provides wickets.
Meanwhile, Dambulla had a tremendous season as they lost just one game so far and coming off a 5-matches unbeaten streak. Under Dasun Shanaka, they outclassed all the oppositions, and they are now firm favourites to win the title. If they lose here, they can face Jaffna, the side whom they haven’t defeated this season. The knock out stage will not give enough calculation to the skipper. The victory or a defeat will not harm Dambulla’s campaign, but they hope to enter the knock-out stage with a win.
In the previous game, they found a new match-winner in Samiullah Shinwari, who scored 46 off just 20 balls to snatch the victory from Galle. Angelo Perera also contributed 45 off 31 balls, and Shanka would be delighted after seeing non-performers of the season got runs. The skipper is leading from the front, scoring 245 runs at a strike rate of 162.25. In the previous game, he also scalped two wickets. Dickwella is also back in the form, scoring two good innings in the last two matches. Dambulla is a balanced and robust side, so they can finish top of the table.
Hambantota’s surface is behaving in a similar manner. The spinners had taken some help from the pitch, but it’s not too heavy for the batsmen. It will be a high-scoring affair, and the chasing side will have an advantage.
Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Paul Stirling, Angelo Perera, Dasun Shanaka (c), Samit Patel, Samiullah Shinwari, Ramesh Mendis, Dilshan Madushanka, Kasun Rajitha, Sudeep Tyagi
Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Laurie Evans, Thikshila de Silva, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Angelo Mathews (c), Andre Russell, Ashan Priyanjan, Isuru Udana, Qais Ahmad, Tharindu Kaushal, Dushmantha Chameera
SL T20 League – M: 7, Runs:245, SR: 162.25
SL T20 League – M: 5, Runs: 153, Wickets: 6
SL T20 League – M: 6, Runs: 229, Avg: 57.25
SL T20 League – M: 6, Wickets: 9, Avg: 16.11