It will be a fight for survival against the urge of the top spot in the 14th game of LPL 2020 on day.
High-flying Colombo Kings will look to secure first place in the LPL 2020 points table as the competition among the top 3 stiffens. In contrast, after five consecutive defeats, down-and-out Galle Gladiators will be content to get their first win of the season.
The last time these two sides met at LPL 2020, it was a truncated 5-over game. Andre Russell made up for the lost action with a staggering 65 runs off just 19 deliveries. Asitha Fernando went for 26 runs in his over while Mohammed Amir took a 46-run hammering in his 2 overs.
The Gladiators' Danushka Gunathilaka fought on but without much support as his team fell short by 3 runs of Russell's score alone. They lost the game by 34 runs.
While Kings went upward and onward from that match, Gladiators are still reeling under the after-effects.
LPL 2020 Form Report: Colombo Kings
Kings are coming off one of the most convincing victories of LPL 2020. After bowling Kandy Tuskers out for the lowest total in a completed game in season, 105-10, they chased it with 35 balls to spare. Dinesh Chandimal and Dushmantha Chameera starred with the bat and ball respectively.
Colombo Kings' bowlers have been their match-winners in LPL 2020. Young Afghanistani leg-spinner Qais Ahmad is the 4th highest wicket-taker at LPL 2020, and is sending waves around the cricketing world with his accurate and thrifty bowling.
In the game against Tuskers, Ahmad took 2 wickets in his four overs while giving away just 8 runs. Andre Russell and Chameera have also chipped in with regular wickets, and both look in fine touch. Russell's batting has also improved since the IPL in September-October and he will looking to dominate once again.
Chandimal has been a pillar of the Kings' batting lineup and has top-scored in each of their 3 victories where he got a chance to bat. Interestingly, no other Colombo Kings batsmen gets into the top 10 run scorers list of LPL 2020.
The Kings have been chopping and changing their top-order a lot, and will want to find a settled combination before the playoffs begin. They will be expecting more from captain Angelo Mathews, and batsmen Laurie Evans and D Bell-Drummond.
LPL 2020 Form Report: Galle Gladiators
Galle Gladiators put up their best show yet when they faced Dambulla Viiking and finally look to have got some of their mojo back.
Gladiators' despairing bowling conceded 207 runs in the first innings against Viiking. Their aimless lengths met with some brilliant batting on a good pitch. Their pacers have been erratic and the spinners haven't curbed the scoring even after taking wickets.
However, Mohammad Amir shone against Viiking with his economical 4 overs that went for just 23 runs. He would look to recreate that performance against the Kings with something to show in the wickets column this time.
This was also the first game when LPL 2020's best batsmen, Gunathilaka (78 off 52), got some buttress from Azam Khan (55 off 24). In the end, they fell short by just 9 runs.
Gunathilaka has been the lone warrior for the Kings. He has given unwavering performances at the top although they have come in losing causes. Captain Bhanuka Rajapaksa has been disappointing at best with a top score of 21 in four games.
Gladiators can still be among the top four teams at LPL 2020 but they will need to win at least two of their next three games. For that to happen, they will first need their pacers to step up as wicket-takers, and the captain to shrug off his disappointing form to lead from the front.
Colombo Kings vs Galle Gladiators: Match Prediction
If the last game is any precedent, Gladiators have the ability to do perform well but have lacked a complete team performance. Having little to lose might just be the right impetus they need to win this game.
On the other hand, Kings bat deeper, and have momentum on their side. They also possess a much stronger bowling lineup, which could be the edge in a close contest.
Prediction: Colombo Kings to win