Galle Gladiators will take on Kandy Tuskers in the 19th match of LPL 2020 at Hambantota on Thursday. With the two sides battling for the last available spot in the semi-finals of the tournament, the encounter will be a must-win one.
Kandy Tuskers have two wins from seven matches while Galle Gladiators have only one from as many attempts. Thus, a win for Kandy Tuskers will put them in the final four. For Galle Gladiators, a victory can still see them jump the queue and make the semi-finals as they have a better net run-rate as compared to Kandy Tuskers.
Kandy Tuskers go into Thursday’s encounter having defeated Jaffna Stallions in their previous match. Galle Gladiators, on the other hand, went down to Dambulla Viiking by four wickets following a sloppy show in the field.
Form guide: Kandy Tuskers
Kandy Tuskers finally put up a professional effort befitting their talent in the triumph over Jaffna Stallions. All their bowlers chipped in as a strong batting line-up was restricted to 150.
While Nuwan Pradeep brought his expertise into play, claiming 3 for 36, Dale Steyn, Vishwa Fernando and Asela Gunaratne all impressed with two scalps each.
In the batting, the talented Rahmanullah Gurbaz continued to disappoint while Kusal Mendis also fell cheaply. However, skipper Kusal Perera and Asela Gunaratne ensured a much-needed victory for Kandy Tuskers. The latter added to his two scalps with an unbeaten half-century.
Form guide: Galle Gladiators
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Galle Gladiators kicked themselves in the foot against Dambulla Viiking. Batting first, they had motored along to 83 for 1 in the 8th over. However, they conceded the advantage and ended up with only 168 for 7 on the board.
Apart from Danushka Gunathilaka (46), skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa (31) and Shehan Jayasuriya (39) no one stood up with the bat.
When it was their turn to defend the total, Mohammad Amir got Galle Gladiators off to the perfect start. Although Niroshan Dickwella and Angelo Perera contributed 38 and 45 respectively, Dhananjaya Lakshan and Lakshan Sandakan chipped in to have Dambulla Viiking at 104 for 5.
The match was in the balance. However, some atrocious fielding, combined with excellent hitting from Samiullah Shinwari, saw Galle Gladiators completely lose the plot.
Galle Gladiators vs Kandy Tuskers: Match prediction
On current form, Kandy Tuskers definitely have the edge. They came up with a highly impressive show against Jaffna Stallions to stay alive in the competition. As such, they would be confident of doing well against Galle Gladiators.
On the other hand, Galle Gladiators will need to lift themselves after a disappointing effort against Dambulla Viiking. They still have inspiration to do well as a win can still keep them alive in LPL 2020.
Predicted to win: Kandy Tuskers