Galle and Jaffna square off for the title clash in Sri Lanka T20 League 2020. Galle defeated Colombo in the first semifinal, while Jaffna broke its winless streak to overcome Dambulla in the second semifinal.
Match Timings: Dec 16, 7:00 PM IST
Galle and Jaffna will be seen in the finale of the Sri Lanka T20 League to fight out for the trophy. In the first half of the tournament, Galle were not even in the semifinals' race, and they are now one win away to clinch the trophy. They cannot admire the whole tournament, but they can cheer the recent success which mattered the most. After winning two out of the previous three league-stage affairs, Galle earned the fourth spot in the table. In the semifinal clash, the Pakistan-owned franchise defeated the table-toppers Colombo by 2 wickets. After restricting Colombo on 150, Galle lost its most important player in the 2nd over and the middle-order exposed against the spin. Dhananjaya Lakshan delivered heartbreak to Angelo Matthews-led side when Galle required 15 to win the match. Lakshan scored a vital 31 off 23 balls to win a thriller with one ball spare.
Nobody is talking about Galle’s start as they made improvements after losing 5 back-to-back fixtures. To earn the semifinal qualification, they can give all credits to Gunathilaka, who has been outstanding with the bat. He scored at least 30 runs in each inning of the league-stage. The Sri Lanka international has aggregated 475 runs at an average of 67.86. If Gunathilaka scores something big on Wednesday, Galle will take the trophy home. Lakshan Sandakan is also playing a big role in providing breakthroughs in middle-orders. The left-arm chinaman has picked up 11 wickets at an average of 21. Dhananjaya Lakshan has also grabbed 10 wickets from 7 matches and his ability to bat down-order gave him extra advantage. Mohammed Amir is also improving and controlling runs in both powerplay and death. Galle has a good side, and they need support for Gunathilaka in either batting or bowling to upset all the odds to win the inaugural season of Sri Lanka T20 League.
Meanwhile, Jaffna slipped in the middle of the tournament after a solid start to the season. You can reverse Galle’s story to find Jaffna’s tale in league-stage. Thisara Perera-led side won the first four matches and lost three in the last four league-stage games. The middle-order didn’t take opportunities, and its big names couldn't deliver much. At the right time, Jaffna got the spark and earned the ticket for the finals.
Jaffna haven’t lost to Dambulla this season, and they continued it with a pure dominant win in the semifinal clash. Johnson Charles finally took charge of Jaffna's top-order as the West Indian player scored 76 off 56 balls. The late collapse troubled Jaffna, but somehow, they got 165 on board. Hasaranga extended his spin-show in the semifinal as well by picking three for just 15. He is now the leading wicket-taker of the tournament with 16 wickets. Dambulla was not even in the frame while chasing this target and bowled out on just 128.
Jaffna are one win away from the title glory, but improvements haven’t appeared in middle-order. After a good start from the top-order, the middle-order collapsed one more time. Jaffna lost its last 8 wickets on just 54 in the final 7-overs in the semifinal. If Galle gets early wickets, Jaffna would be in trouble. The head-to-head numbers are favouring Jaffna. Thisara-Perera’s troops defeated Galle twice in the league-stage, and both wins were recorded while chasing.
Hambantota’s surface is getting slow, and this match will be played on the used surface. Spin can trouble in middle-overs under the light. It’s a fine batting track, and we expect 160-170 on Wednesday.
Danushka Gunathilaka, Ahsan Ali, Azam Khan (wk), Bhanuka Rajapaksa (c), Sahan Arachchige, Chanaka Ruwansiri, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Mohammad Amir, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Thushara
Johnson Charles (wk), Avishka Fernando, Charith Asalanka, Shoaib Malik, Chaturanga de Silva, Thisara Perera (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Dhananjaya de Silva, Suranga Lakmal, Usman Shinwari, Duanne Olivier
Sri Lanka T20 League 2020 – M: 9, Runs: 465, Avg: 67.86
Sri Lanka T20 League 2020 – M: 7, Wickets: 11, Avg: 21
Sri Lanka T20 League 2020 – M: 9, Wickets: 16, Avg: 10.88
Sri Lanka T20 League 2020 – M: 9, Runs: 222, Avg: 37