On the last day of double-headers in LPL 2020, Thisara Perera-led Jaffna Stallions will vie with Angelo Mathews' Colombo Kings for the top spot in the 18th game of the tournament. Both the sides are coming into this game on the back of upsets, though.
LPL 2020 table-toppers Jaffna Stallions were blown away by Kandy Tuskers by six wickets on Wednesday while 3rd-placed Kings took an 8-wicket hammering against LPL 2020's worst-performing side Galle Gladiators.
Both Jaffna Stallions and Colombo Kings are all but qualified for the semi-finals but will look to shrug off their embarrassing defeats and get back to winning ways. The last time these two teams met in LPL 2020, Colombo Kings handed Jaffna Stallions their first defeat of the tournament.
In that game, Jaffna Stallions huffed and puffed their way to 149 before Colombo Kings' best batsman of LPL 2020, Dinesh Chandimal, took charge and anchored his team's chase with a well-made 68 off 51 balls.
LPL 2020 Form Report: Colombo Kings
Colombo Kings underwhelmed against an inspired Galle Gladiators in their last LPL game. Chandimal continued his good form with an innings of 35 while England's D Bell-Drummond also looked the part with 44. Courtesy the duo's efforts, Colombo Kings managed to reach a defendable total of 171.
However, the Kings bowlers looked toothless against the Gladiators' top 4. Six of the eight bowlers went for over ten runs an over, and all the pacers were taken to the cleaners as Gladiators chased down their target with 15 balls to spare.
Although that could have been a one-off, the Kings need to sort out their bowling lineup, as it has featured far too many part-timers. That has effectively left them with no one to lead the pack with four solid overs.
However, Isru Udana and Andre Russell have both been good in LPL 2020. Qais Ahmad has been a revelation and would look to continue as the Colombo Kings' strike bowler in the rest of the tournament.
In the batting department though, Colombo Kings will need more support for Chandimal, especially from opener Laurie Evans and under-fire captain Angelo Mathews.
LPL 2020 Form Report: Jaffna Stallions
Jaffna Stallions experienced their LPL 2020 fortunes plummet in the game against Kandy Tuskers. But that could have been an aberration. However, as things stand, the Stallions' brittle top order is being papered over by some brilliant hitting by captain Thisara Perera.
Their bowling lineup, arguably the best in LPL 2020, had too little to defend against the Tuskers in that game. In the first innings, Shoaib Malik finally lived up to expectations with an innings of 59. However, much to his chagrin, no other batter made more than 21 as the Stallions were bowled out for a paltry 150.
Nevertheless, in all the LPL 2020 games where the Stallions have performed well, either captain Perera or opener Avishka Fernando has scored the bulk of the runs. While Malik's return to form is welcome news, Stallions will be desperately hoping for the likes of Johnson Charles and Charith Asalanka to rediscover their mojo against Colombo Kings.
In the bowling department, Usman Shinwari, Wanindu Hasaranga and Duanne Oliver have been consistent performers for Jaffna Stallions throughout LPL 2020 and are likely to continue to do the heavy lifting against Colombo Kings.
Colombo Kings vs Jaffna Stallions: Match Prediction
It wouldn't be a surprise if this LPL 2020 game goes right down to the wire and becomes one of the most hard-fought clashes of the tournament.
Perera and Mathews are two seasoned campaigners and would know the importance of having a win going into the playoffs. Fernando and Chandimal will be tasked once again to give their teams a good start. Perera and Russell could be the x-factors for their sides, both with bat and ball.
However, Dinesh Chandimal's good form gives Colombo Kings the slight edge in batting, but Jaffna Stallions' bowling lineup is better by an arm's length.
Prediction: Jaffna Stallions to win.