Kandy vs Jaffna, Sri Lanka T20 League 2020, Match Preview

To fancy its semifinal chances, Kandy will take on table-toppers Jaffna in the first Wednesday encounter of Sri Lanka T20 League 2020.

Match Timings: Dec 09, 3:30 PM IST 

Team Preview 

Sri Lanka T20 League 2020 is in its final stage, and three semifinalists have been finalised. To take the final spot, Galle and Kandy will fight out. Kandy have two more games to play, and its first task is up against the league-leaders Jaffna. After Galle’s win against Colombo on Monday, Kandy has slipped to the bottom spot. Kusal Perera-led side needs to grab two vital points to upstage Galle from the 4th spot. Kandy got enough break to prepare as they last played on Saturday.  

In the previous meeting, Colombo outclassed them by 7 wickets, and with the heavy defeat, Kandy’s NRR is now the poorest one amongst all teams. They were bowled out on just 105, the lowest score of the tournament. Kandy’s only victory came against Galle, and they have been an inconsistent side. They had previously met Jaffna and lost the match by 54 runs. While chasing 186, Kandy bowled out on 131. With the mediocre batting setup, followed by the poor bowling, Kandy is not even showing a tough fight to its respective sides. Its journey started from the Super-Over defeat against Colombo, and it was the only affair where they came close to victory.

Gurbaz and Perera both scored just one good knock from the first 6 matches, and such intent cannot win you matches. Brendan Taylor has been promising good in middle-overs, and surprisingly, Kusal Mendis is delivering the best in the batting unit, scoring 193 runs at an average of 38.60. Gunaratne is effective with picking 7 wickets at an economy of 8. Kandy requires to form confidence to outperform Jaffna. 

Meanwhile, the Thisara Perera-led side is at the top of the table, and the result will not harm them, but if they want to finish on top, they will aim to take two points from this match. The skipper himself led from the front and guided Jaffna to the top of the table. Jaffna lost its first match against Colombo last week, and the next match was washed out. With 9 points, they have claimed the top spot with better NRR, and a defeat can give Dambulla a chance to upstage them. 

Jaffna finished on 148 against Colombo, thanks to Hasaranga’s late 23-balls 41 but it wasn’t enough. Avishka Fernando is Jaffna’s key figure in the batting unit, scoring 209 runs at an average of 52.75. Thisara Perera is also doing very well as the skipper has amassed 192 runs with a strike rate of 215.73. Wanindu Hasaranga has also been effective with his all-round game. He has picked up 10 wickets and scored 87 runs at down-order in six matches.

Pitch Report 

Hambantota’s surface is purely a batting track, but we expect some spin on the used surface. There is a bit of dryness on the track, and it has been slightly changed. 

Possible XI 

Kandy 

Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Kusal Perera (c & wk), Kusal Mendis, Brendan Taylor, Asela Gunaratne, Kamindu Mendis, Seekkuge Prasanna, Dilruwan Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Naveen-ul-Haq, Munaf Patel

Jaffna 

Avishka Fernando, Minod Bhanuka, Tom Moores (wk), Shoaib Malik, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera (c), Chaturanga de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Suranga Lakmal, Usman Shinwari, Duanne Olivier

Key Players 

Kandy

Kusal Mendis 

SL T20 League – M: 6, Runs: 193, Avg: 38.60 

Asela Gunaratne

SL T20 League – M: 6, Wickets: 7, Avg: 20.43 

Jaffna 

Thisara Perera 

SL T20 League – M: 6, Runs: 192, SR: 215.73 

Wanindu Hasaranga

SL T20 League – M: 6, Wickets: 10, Avg: 10.50Runs: 87