Dambulla Vikings v Galle Gladiators
Saturday 5 December 10.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Shanaka shake down
Dasun Shanaka is winning games on his own for Dambulla. He notched another crucial late blitz to get their home against Kandy Tuskers on Thursday. Shanaka muscled 33 from 23 just as they appeared to be losing their way in a chase of 157. The bowling unit, in truth, is strong. And for the second consecutive game they squeezed a team expertly with an army of spinners.
Possible XI Dickwella, Stirling, Tharanga, Patel, Shanaka, A Perera, Anwar, A Tharanga, Pushpakumura, Rajitha, Colombage
Galle Gladiators have lost all four matches which puts their semi-final hopes in grave jeopardy. Some achievement that for just a five-team tournament.
The issue is with the ball. They are yet to show much control in the field, something of a surprise considering the reputations of Mohammad Amir, Akila Dhananjaya and Lakshan Sandakan. Last time out they failed to defend 170 against Jaffna. They have also lost Shahid Afridi, who has left for personal reasons.
Possible XI Gunathilaka, Zazai, Azam, Rajapaksa, Siriwardana, Afridi, Jayasuriya, Shiraz, Amir, Sandakan, Dhananjaya
Scores so far (most recent first, 1-2 denote match won by side batting first) read: 148-2/156-2/170-2/185-1/175-1/196-1/218-1/96-1(5overs)/195-1/175-2/219-t. The pitch is beginning to slow up. And with we expect the chaser to start to have more sway with teams starting to struggle to know what a good score is. It could also be time to start taking low-risk prices for under 130 and 140 in firs-innings runs.
Vikings are 1.804/5 with Galle 2.206/5. We are surprised Vikings are not skinnier given the records of the two teams. With the toss in their favour – chasing – we expect the Vikings to come out on top and they would rate a decent wager. And indeed an even better trade in-play of we can pick up 1.9010/11.
Amir is rated at 3/1 by Sportsbook for top Galle bowler. That’s the sort of price we snaffle if this was Pakistan playing but the swing ace has a record closer to 4/1 in franchise leagues.
One for the notebook: the 7/4 that no fifty is scored in the first dig is a price (Sportsbook) which could start to pay dividends. It won’t win every time but there is a window of opportunity where it’s value before the trend is spotted for lower run rates.
Colombo Kings v Kandy Tuskers
Saturday 5 December 14.30
TV: live on Sky Sports
Kings upset the formbook by downing the runaway leaders Jaffna Stallions on Friday. In further evidence that the wicket at Hambantota is beginning to break down after so many matches, they restricted Jaffna to just 148. Some feat considering the way their bowlers had been targeted previously. Angelo Mathews took one for nine and he then joined forces with Andre Russell with the bat to guide the chase.
Possible XI Chandimal, Evans, Bell-Drummond, Mathews, Russell, S De Silva, Priyanjan, Udana, Qais, Chameera, Kaushal
Tuskers have four defeats from five. Their batting has faltered in the last two, posting only 156 against Vikings and then being rolled for 131 against Jaffna in a chase of 181. With their bowling line up less than inspired – they are reliant on veteran Munaf Patel – there is not a huge amount to like about the pre-tournament favourites.
Possible XI Gurbaz, M Perera, B Mendis, Taylor, P Mendis, Gunaratne, Naveen, Pradeep, Munaf
Take on short favourites
Early prices have Colombo as short as 1.501/2. That is the Russell factor. Clearly with the pitch as it is – and the increasing importance of the toss – it is easy to make a case for the Tuskers trading as favourites in a chase. Look for 2.305/4 to 1.608/13.