Kandy Tuskers under Kusal Perera will lock horns with Dasun Shanaka's Dambulla Viiking in the 3rd game of the Lanka Premier League (LPL 2020) today at 3:30 pm.
Kandy Tuskers will be distraught with themselves for not going over the line against the Colombo Kings in the first match of LPL 2020. After they scored a humongous 219 for the loss of just 3 wickets, Tuskers' bowling let them down.
The attack led by Nuwan Pradeep first leaked 65 runs in the powerplay, then went for 51 in the last three overs as the match slipped into a super-over which they lost by 4 runs. Naveen-ul-Haq has also been showing match-changing skills lately but he and Pradeep need more support from other bowlers.
Irfan Pathan injured his hamstring in the first game. Freshly arrived Dale Steyn could be an inspired inclusion if allowed by the authorities. Vishwa Fernando or Kamaindu Mendis could be in for their LPL 2020 debuts as well.
The batting department, however, was flawless. Captain Perera's red-hot innings of 87 included nine fours and four sixes and provided the perfect start to LPL 2020. He was well supported by Afghanistan's Rahmanullah Gurbaz who made 53 with a strike rate of over 240.
Kusal Mendis and Asela Gunaratne also played well for their 30s and are expected to keep their places along with the flamboyant openers. If Tuskers can tidy up their bowling for what looks like a belter track at Hambantota, they can surely put their hands on the inaugural LPL 2020 trophy.
Their opponents Dambulla Vilking, on the other hand, will be playing their first game of LPL 2020. The Viiking side is arguably the dark-horse in LPL 2020. Their captain Shanaka is a big-hitting all-rounder possessing the ability for being an x-factor.
Their batting looks hefty with a cocktail of experienced hitters including Afghanistan's Samiullah Shenwari and England's Samit Patel. Both are also expected to take the spin-bowling duties for the Viiking this LPL 2020. Lahiru Madushanka can tonk the ball a long way on his day too.
The batting department also includes renowned Sri Lankan batsman Upul Tharanga, supported by the Irish batting all-rounder Paul Stirling and Sri Lankan Oshanda Fernando. Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella's innovative hitting will complement their styles perfectly as well.
The group includes a mix of youngsters and experienced hands, including Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, and Sudeep Tyagi in the bowling department. It will be these guys who will make or break Viiking's LPL 2020.
LPL 2020 3rd Match, Kandy Tuskers v Dambulla Viiking: Match Prediction
Both Viiking and Tuskers are similarly built sides: top-heavy and tenuous on bowling. The fact that Viiking will be playing its first game of LPL 2020 gives the Tuskers a slight edge on understanding the conditions. The latter side is also expected to learn from its mistakes and take the field with a better bowling lineup this time.
It is thus expected to be a competition of nerves today, in which Tuskers skipper Kusal Perara's acumen could top new captain Dasun Shanaka's elan.
Prediction: Kandy Tuskers to win