The third edition of the Lanka Premier League 2022 will see Jaffna Kings taking on Kandy Falcons tomorrow in a Play off to deciding the finalist while Colombo Stars will take on Galle Gladiators in the second decider at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.
Of course, Kandy Falcons, led by all-round leg spin prodigy Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva will go out favourites having got the better of Jaffna Kings in the run up games in chalking up 7 wins from 8 in leading the points table with 14 with net run rate of + 1.884 to their rivals 12 points, the Kings having won 6 out of 8 with net run rate of + 1.010. Indeed, tomorrow’s head on will be the decisive showdown whether the Falcons will reign in the leaders to the trophy glitter when Hasaranga’s charges will be put to the ultimate test by Thisara Perera’s Kandy Kings. Man to man, both teams look equally matched with some star performers in the ranks. While the Falcons is heavy packed for locals in skipper Hasaranga, Pathum Nissanka, Kamindu Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, and the Kings in skipper Thisara Perera, who has displayed pleasing form with bat and ball, with the seasoned Dhananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Avishka Fernando, Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana, Binura Fernando and Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, both sides boast of some equally telling foreign input. The Falcons is bolstered by Andre Fletcher, Carlos Braithwaite, Oshane Thomas and Fabian Allen while the Kings is muscled by Rahmanullah Gurbaz who has been in topping form with the bat upfront with veteran Shoaib Malik, and James Fuller. While the Falcons hold the edge on paper, the Kings have certainly upped their game in getting close to the final.
In the second decider, the Colombo Stars hold the edge against the Galle Gladiators who got through after Dambulla Aura failed to win yesterday’s game against the Gladiators in the required11.1 overs win as they did. However, the Stars, who were conspicuously without skipper Angelo Mathews in yesterday’s lost game to the Jaffna Kings, clearly lacked the desired commitment/temperament by the star frontline batsmen which put the onus on the young new 1000-run discovery of the season from five innings – Nishan Madushka 35 off 44 balls to revive the innings from the gloom of 4 for 16 after 3.4 overs together with Ravi Bopara 20. Certainly the Colombo Stars will need to play to their true potential if they are to go past the Galle Gladiators led by Kusal Mendis. For the Gladiators it will be decisive to up their game if they are to go through to the final where a collective team effort than reliance on the skipper as it has been will be needed.