Ed Hawkins says the Stallions are Lanka Premier League title contenders ahead of their first game on Friday...
"The man who could make all the difference, though, is slow-left armer Prabath Jayasuriya, who has a superb economy rate domestically"
Galle Gladiators v Jaffna Stallions
Friday November 27, 14:00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Who'd have thought that Shahid Afridi was the sort of character who could miss a plane? The Pakistani all-rounder looks certain to be absent for the opening clash of his new team's campaign and his absence leaves hole.
The Gladiators could be unbalanced but it does provide the opportunity to pair Pakistan pace aces Mohammad Amir and Waqas Maqsood. With the bat, much relies on Chadwick Walton in the middle order. Afghan Hazaratullah Zazai is powerful in the opening berth with a career strike rate of 147 but, as you would expect with that hitting rate, is incredibly inconsistent.
Possible XI Gunathilaka, Zazai, Rajapaksa, Walton, Siriwardana, Fernando, Dhananjaya, Amir, Maqsood, Sandakan
Moores the merrier
Johnson Charles has only just arrived in camp for the Stallions so Nottinghamshire's Tom Moores should take the last overseas berth. Moores has a brilliant strike rate at just under 140 in domestic T20.
Jaffna look a balanced squad. As discussed on Cricket...Only Bettor (see below), they have as good a chance as any and yet are rags on the outright at 5s. If they pick Pakistan's Usman Shinwari as a left-arm destroyer they have a great chance to make a strong bid for the title. Shoaib Malik could well be the pick of the tournament given what he can do with bat and ball.
Possible XI Fernando, Moores, Bhanuka, Hasaranga, Shoaib, Perera, Prabath, Akmal, Abbott, Shinwari
All 23 matches will be played at Hambantota, often with two a day. So by the start of next week we should start to see wear and tear have an impact. In tournaments where worn surfaces are used persistently, the team batting first tends to struggle to know what a good score is. The longer the tournament goes on, the toss becomes more important.
We would expect chasers to dominate in the second half. There have been only seven T20 internationals played at the venue, all between 2012 and 2013. More than 160 was busted twice and generally runscoring was hard. But we couldn't possibly start wagering off the back of such out-out-date data. Tuskers thrashed 219 in the opener to defy previous scores.
Stallions look good
Galle are 1.768/11 with Stallions out at 2.265/4. Man for man, we see little need for such a big gulf in odds.
Indeed, Stallions' bowling unit could be the best-balanced in the tournament. In Kyle Abbott, Duanne Olivier and Usman Shinwari they have real pace and skill. Two from those three will be a handful. The man who could make all the difference, though, is slow-left armer Prabath Jayasuriya, who has a superb economy rate domestically. We would expect the Stallions to get a foothold in the game thanks to his mean style.
Side markets value
Sportsbook are not yet offering prices on tops markets until the batting orders of each team are known. But there are other prices that catch the eye.
The 6/4 that no fifty is scored on a likely sluggish and slow surface looked a wager before the opener. And with that in mind, a solid in-play strategy to go low on innings runs ,ay have to wait for the second half of the competition.
Amir is 11/4 for top Galle bowler. It's not a value wager and don't fall into the trap of the big name. Amir's franchise win rate is more like a 4/1 chance. And Waqas is far more dangerous.