Dambulla Vikings v Colombo Kings
Friday 11 December, 14:30
TV: live on Sky Sports
Vikings eye top spot
The Vikings can go into the semi-finals as group winners if they avoid defeat. They have won their last four, finding rhythm at the right time while others have slipped - notably Jaffna Stallions who will finish third after leading for much of the tournament.
Last time out against Galle Gladiators they found themselves under the pump early on, conceding ten an over in the first nine bowling first. But they hit back and restricted Galle to 168. A second comeback was required at 128 for six. Samiullah Shinwari hit 46 from just 20 balls to get them home.
Probable XI Stirling, Dickwella, Tharanga, A Perera, Shanaka, Patel, Shinwari, Mendis, Rajitha, Madushanka, Tiyagi
Colombo Kings can go top with the win. Their recent form is not so hot, though - winning two from four. One of those defeats came against Vikings.
They are buoyant, however, after Laurie Evans became the first player in LPL to hit a century. Evans' 108 from 65 balls propelled Kings to 173 to down Jaffna Stallions last time out. With Angelo Mathews and Andre Russell lurking at Nos 4 and 5 respectively, and Isuru Udana's all-round abilities impressive, it looks a strong line-up.
Possible XI Chandimal, Evans, Bell-Drummond, Mathews, Russell, de Silva, Priyanjan, Udana, Qais, Kaushal, Chameera.
Here are the first-innings scores (1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second, most recent first) at Hambantota in this tournament: 126-2/173-1/168-2/150-2/171-2/105-2/207-1/148-2/156-2/170-2/185-1/175-1/196-1/218-1/96-1(5overs)/195-1/175-2/219-t. The slow down in runmaking should not be a surprise, nor should the emergence of the chaser dominating. On slow, sluggish surfaces judging the right score is tough, opening up a bias. We are prone to be taking small risks on low scores at 130 or 140. No rain is forecast.
Vikings are 2.166/5 with Kings 1.834/5. We would be happy to take some of that on the Vikings batting first and look to trade. We can well see this being a topsy-turvy affair between two decent sides and are wary of letting it run.
The strategy would be for Vikings to flip the market with runs on the board, possibly into 1.705/7, and then we would aim for green on both sides in the chase by adding an extra 50% to the original stake when laying.
Evans is 3/1 to be top Vikings runscorer after his century with Sportsbook. The firm make him 5/6 to go over 24.5 runs. He has passed that mark only seven times in his last 18, however, so it could be one to go under. As ever we are keen on the 2/1 that no fifty is scored in the first-innings. Paul Stirling is the same price for