Ed Hawkins previews two matches from Hambantota in the T20 tournament on Saturday...
"Vikings batting is strong and has depth and they should be capable of having something sizeable on the board at the break to make them clear favourites"
Kandy Tuskers v Dambulla Vikings
Saturday November 28 10:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
The Tuskers started the season as favourites for the title. And at the break of their opener against Colombo Kings they looked the business, having amassed 219 off their 20 overs. Unfortunately they couldn't defend it and their nerves were shredded further by a loss in the Super Over.
A lack of game time for Irfan Pathan proved costly as the veteran went for more than 13 an over and the Tuskers had no answer to the onslaught.
Possible XI Gurbaz, MK Perera, K Mendis, Gunaratne, Prasanna, Pathan, Pradeep, Naveen, PHKD Mendis, L Embuldeniya, K Anjula
Vikings strong with willow
This will be the Vikings' fist outing. They have invested well and shrewdly in batting talent. Paul Stirling, the Ireland hitter, could form a potent opening partnership with the experienced Upul Tharanga.
Niroshan Dickwella, the home international, adds middle order class while Samit Patel and Dasun Shanaka give them finishing options. The bowling options are not as strong and they need Pakistan's Anwar Ali to be dangerous with his right-arm bullets.
Possible XI Stirling, Tharanga, Dickwella, Fernando, Perera, Shanaka, Patel, Anwar, Madushanka, Kumara, Rajistha.
The Hambantota wicket has been sluggish in the past. And the distant past, too. So it was not entirely surprising that runs were in the offing in game. But by such a huge margin? The reason for the run glut was simple: short boundaries. Think Sharjah in the recent IPL. For a trading strategy we might need to return to going big at the death, taking chunky prices for 30 or 40 or more for the last two overs. It won't pay off every match but it doesn't need to.
Take on favourites
We are expecting the Tuskers to go off short favourites, probably around the 1.804/5 mark. But with their bowlers profligate and the boundaries tight, we would have a right sweat on if they were to bowl first.
Getting with the Vikings at perhaps choice is the way to go with first use. Their batting is strong and has depth and they should be capable of having something sizeable on the board at the break to make them clear favourites.
Galle Gladiators v Colombo Kings
Saturday 28 November 14:30
TV: live on Sky Sports
Galle Gladiators suffered a hammering at the hands of Jaffna Stallions in their opener on Friday, going down by eight wickets.
Somehow Shahid Afridi was allowed to play, despite only arriving in the country on Tuesday. His 58 from 23 suggests he has found his level. Afridi was also economical (five an over) with the ball as his team-mates, Mohammad Amir aside, disappeared to all parts.
Probable XI Gunathilaka, Walton, Khan, Rajapaksa, Siriwardana, Afridi, Jayasuriya, Amir, Dhananjaya, Shiraz, Fernando.
Kings won a Super Over in the opener against the Tuskers in a hair-raising an eyebrow-raising performance. They conceded a massive 219 and then chased with relative ease.
Dinesh Chandimal's extraordinary 80 from 46 won him the match gong, probably because everyone couldn't fathom how a guy with an international strike rate barely above 100 could whack it so.
Probable XI Chandimal, Evans, de Silva, Russell, Mathews, Priyanjan, Udana, Qais Ahmad, Gony, Chameera, Aponso.
Gladiators a wager
The Kings have impressed the market with their victory over Tuskers. But they haven't impressed us.How can a team with such leaky bowling ever be 1.695/7. The 2.407/5 about the Gladiators getting a foothold is a great bet if they get the opportunity to bat first. And if not, big prices will be available at the break. Expect another bonkers affair. It should be relatively easy to trade both sides for green because of profligate bowling.