Jaffna would take on Dambulla in the second semifinal of the Sri Lanka T20 League tonight. The winner of this game will meet Galle in the final on Wednesday.
Match Timings: Dec 14, 7 PM IST
Sri Lanka T20 League got its first finalist on Sunday night as Galle outperformed Colombo in the first semifinal. The second semifinal will now be played between Dambulla and Jaffna. Both sides had a good season so far, but Jaffna’s downfall in the last few games are a big concern. After winning four straight games, Jaffna failed to find a victory in the next four.
Jaffna lost to Colombo twice, and in the final league-stage, they lost by just 6 runs to miss the top spot. Jaffna won its first four matches on individual performances, and opponents broke this attitude to overcome Tisara Perera’s side. The manner of the defeat was completely different. In two defeats, they failed to post a strong total, and opponents easily chased down the total. In the final game, the middle-order lost the momentum in acceleration, and the late fire from Perera couldn’t help.
Avishka Fernando had a good start but didn’t deliver much with the bat. He has two eighty plus scores, and except for these two knocks, his performance is so poor. Thisara Perera is also a big asset in the batting-unit. The skipper has aggregated 215 runs with a strike rate of 215. Wanindu Hasaranga is the only positive for Jaffna during the winless streak. He has been impactful with bat and ball. The Sri Lankan spinner is the leading wicket-taker of the season with 13 wickets.
Meanwhile, Dambulla finished second in the table with just two defeats in the league stage. The irony is that Dambulla haven’t defeated Jaffna in the league-stage. In the first fixture, Jaffna outclassed them by 66 runs, and the next game was washed out. Dambulla’s league-stage ended with a 6-wickets loss against Colombo. The bowling unit failed to defend 203, which is a big issue. Dickwella is scoring runs from the last few matches, and Angelo Perera’s 75 off 51 balls in the previous game provide the confidence to batting-unit.
Shanaka tried Samit Patel as an opener, and it may work out in powerplay. Tharanga is good against spin, and he can play sheet-anchor in middle-overs. The captain is in fabulous form, scoring 273 runs at an average of 45.50 and a strike rate of 164.46. Dambulla’s performance would rely on its skipper and Samit Patel. It's a knock-out game, and one bad day can spoil all the efforts. Dambulla is a more-balanced and more experienced side, but in the T20 format, one good knock or one good spell can change the outcome of an entire game.
Hambantota’s surface is offering a good balance between bat and ball. It’s a good batting track, and the batting side can easily get 170-180 on this surface. Spin might trouble in the middle-order. Chasing would be an easy call.
Johnson Charles (wk), Tom Moores, Shoaib Malik, Wanindu Hasaranga, Thisara Perera (c), Charith Asalanka, Chaturanga de Silva, Maheesh Theekshana, Suranga Lakmal, Binura Fernando, Duanne Olivier
Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Upul Tharanga, Angelo Perera, Samit Patel, Dasun Shanaka (c), Samiullah Shinwari, Anwar Ali, Ramesh Mendis, Malinda Pushpakumara, Kasun Rajitha, Sudeep Tyagi
SL T20 League – M: 8, Runs: 215, SR: 215
SL T20 League – M: 8, Wickets: 13, Runs: 87
SL T20 League – M: 8, Runs:273, Avg: 45.50
SL T20 League – M: 8, Runs: 178, Wickets: 7