Dambulla will rely on their batting depth to fight Jaffna’s well-rounded assault
Highway to the semi-final
Dambulla Viiking have had the look of a darkish horse from early within the LPL. Though Jon Lewis was dropped as coach lengthy earlier than the event started, he had completed Viiking a favour by making some good native picks within the draft. And regardless of an early judder or two, when the batting was slightly flimsy, they’ve discovered a system that works for them, striding to a formidable 5 wins from seven accomplished matches.
They have been buoyed the ending of Dasun Shanaka, the third-highest run scorer of the LPL, with 273 runs at a strike price of 164. However they’ve additionally benefited from some good captaincy from him, as he has discovered to wrangle a trio of finger spinners – Samit Patel, Malinda Pushpakumara, and Ramesh Mendis – to glorious impact (they’ve 18 wickets between them). They misplaced their solely accomplished match to Jaffna Stallions, however come into the knockouts with extra momentum.
Jaffna Stallions have been the strongest crew within the first 10 days of the competitors, profitable every of their first 4 matches with ease, as Thisara Perera lit up the late overs, and a various assault constantly stored oppositions to below-par totals. Within the second half of the league stage, although, Thisara wasn’t fairly as efficient with the bat, and the remaining batsmen didn’t compensate. Since turning into the primary crew to qualify for the semis, Stallions have not received a match. Partly, this is because of to their experimenting with less-experienced gamers. However the truth stays they’ve been slightly gentle on match-winning performances from the highest 5.
However let’s discuss their assault. Wanindu Hasaranga is the league’s prime wicket-taker. Usman Shinwari has introduced bustling tempo, and Suranga Lakmal has delivered management in his 5 matches. Dhananjaya de Silva, who has been certainly one of Sri Lanka’s most helpful spinners up to now two years, has maybe been underused with the ball, nonetheless.
Be careful for
Wanindu Hasaranga, who has not solely taken 13 wickets, he is additionally gone at a shocking 5.48 an over, along with making 112 death-overs runs at a strike price of 184. He is additionally been a mentor for 19-year-old legspinner Vijayakanth Viyaskanth by the course of the event. His googly has been devastating. Usually, he has appeared like a bowler Sri Lanka can construct a white-ball assault round over the following few years.
Samit Patel has perhaps been essentially the most impactful senior professional on the LPL. He is hit 179 runs at a strike price of 140, which is not spectacular, however definitely helpful. He is been extra in keeping with the ball, having taken seven wickets, and maintained an financial system price of slightly below eight. In line with Shanaka, he is additionally been a fount of knowledge and recommendation to the youthful gamers within the crew.
For Stallions, Dhananjaya de Silva is more likely to return to the XI after being rested for the final two matches. Jaffna-bred legspinner Viyaskanth most likely will not play, partly as a result of they’ve a superior leggie within the XI with Hasaranga. Stallions have a call to make on the overseas participant entrance as effectively. Does Tom Moores hold wicket, or does Johnson Charles stay behind the stumps (neither have been nice with the bat to this point)?
Viiking, in the meantime, have a slew of native gamers to contemplate. Does Sachindu Colombage play? What about Pulina Tharanga? And does quick bowler Lahiru Kumara deserve a spot after being costly in two of his three matches to this point? Both method, seam bowler Kasun Rajitha is sort of sure to return to the XI after being rested within the final sport. As is allrounder Ramesh Mendis.
- Not a single bowler with an LPL wicket has a greater financial system price than the event’s most penetrative bowler, Wanindu Hasaranga.
- Viiking’s Ramesh Mendis has taken 5 wickets and gone at solely 6.87 along with his offspin in 5 bowling innings.
- Among the many prime six LPL runscorers, Shanaka is the one one which bats decrease than No. 3.
Viiking captain Dasun Shanaka:
“We have variety in our attack, and that’s really important in T20, because batsmen have certain types of bowlers whom they find difficult. It’s an advantage that we were able to give so many players opportunities through the tournament, because when it comes to the semi-final I can pick the players that we need for that game.”
Stallions captainThisara Perera:
“We have five or six match-winning players in the team, and if they click we will have a good game. In the first four matches, one of those players put their hands up and won the match for us. I think one of them will win it for us in the semi-final also.”
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf