Table-toppers Colombo Kings will face Galle Gladiators, who sneaked into the top four with two wins, in the first semi-final of the LPL 2020 on Sunday.
With six wins in eight matches, you would expect Colombo Kings to have the upper hand. However, this is a one-off game, and a bad day in the office could see them knocked out by a team that has only just begun to look like one.
So Colombo Kings need to be wary against the unpredictable Galle Gladiators. The last time these two teams met, Galle Gladiators had caught Colombo Kings off-guard.
Colombo Kings, though, proceed to the semis on the back of consecutive wins, registered against Jaffna Stallions and Dambulla Viiking.
Galle Gladiators, on the other hand, go in having put up a shoddy show against Dambulla Viiking before getting their act together in the nick of time against Kandy Tuskers.
Form Guide: Colombo Kings
Colombo Kings were brilliant in the chase of 204 against Dambulla Viiking. Laurie Evans followed up his century in the previous match with an equally brutal fifty before retiring hurt. Colombo Kings would be praying he turns up fit for the big game.
As for young leggie Qais Ahmad, he was astounding in the last game, first with the ball and then with the bat. For Colombo Kings’ sake, he needs to carry on his awesome form for two more games.
Ashan Priyanjan and Thikshila de Silva also came up with key knocks with the bat while experienced opener Dinesh Chandimal will be expected to rise to the occasion.
In the bowling department, Dushmantha Chameera was expensive in the last game, but has been good overall. Andre Russell has delivered key wickets while Isuru Udana has displayed his versatility.
Form guide: Galle Gladiators
Despite finding different ways to lose games, Galle Gladiators have managed to stay afloat. Prolific opener Danushka Gunathilaka has been one of the key reasons behind the same. He is the leading run-scorer in the tournament by some distance, having amassed 462 runs.
Azam Khan has also played a couple of good knocks, but their bowling and fielding, for most part, has been sub-par. That changed in the last few games, and the results too.
Left-arm seamer Mohammad Amir has come up with a couple of exceptional efforts while Dhananjaya Lakshan, Lakshan Sandakan, and Nuwan Thushara have also made crucial contributions.
Colombo Kings vs Galle Gladiators: Match prediction
On form, and given the fact that they have won most number of matches in the tournament, Colombo Kings deserved to make it to the LPL 2020 final. But, that is not how things work out in sports.
Galle Gladiators have finally shown that they are not here to make up the numbers. They defeated Colombo Kings comprehensively a few days back. That should give them confidence. But Galle Gladiators cannot afford any slip-ups from here.
Predicted to win: Colombo Kings