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Galle Gladiators finally struck gold as their Pakistan duo finally found form in an all-important encounter in Lanka Premier League 2020. Prior to that win, they were languishing at the bottom of the table and the win would certainly have instilled a lot of confidence amongst the players.
Up next in the tournament are the Gladiators set to take on Dambulla Viikings, the team they faced off against just a few days ago. It happened to e a cracker of a contest then and we don't expect it to be any different this time either. The match between the two sides is to be played at Mahinda Rajapaksha International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday, 9th December 2020.
Galle Gladiators always had a decent team on paper and their dismal run in the earlier part of the tournament came as a massive surprise for many. However, they turned the tables around with a terrific win over Colombo Kings and are now looking all set to grab the only position that is up for grabs as far as the next round is concerned.
Bowling first against the Kings, the Gladiators came out all guns blazing as they were in a do-or-die situation coming in to the match. Mohammad Amir looked at his lethal best and bowled a terrific spell of fast bowling, picking up five wickets without giving much away.
Earlier in the tournament, it was the slow run-rate from the Gladiators' batsmen that had haunted the team. Barring Danushka Gunathilaka and Azam Khan, no one was contributing to keep their innings afloat. It happened to be all different against the Kings. Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Ahsan Ali joined the party as Colombo Kings won the match with 15 balls to spare and 9 wickets in hand.
The Gladiators didn't have a good start to the tournament, but there were no doubts about their on-paper strength. It was all on display against the Kings as almost everyone looked in fine form for the Gladiators. On paper, they certainly have the players and individual abilities to single-handedly win them the matches. Another couple of wins here and it wouldn't be wrong to say that the Gladiators are peaking just at the right time. They'll not be an easy team to beat in the upcoming encounter.
Danushka Gunathilaka, Ahsan Ali, Azam Khan, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, CAK Walton, Sahan Arachchige, Shehan Jayasuriya, Lakshan Sandakan, Mohammad Amir, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Nuwan Thushara.
After posting a nail-biting win over Galle Gladiators, Dambulla Viikings had to settle for a no-result in their match against Jaffna Stallions. While that match could have gone either way, the Viikings would have pretty happy to salvage a point out of it, considering the position they were in before rain stopped the play. They had scored 42 for the loss of three wickets in 7 overs before the match was called off.
The Viikings have won the same number of matches as Jaffna Stallions, but poor net run-rate has kept them off the top of the table position. Having said that, it is of little significance as they both have already qualified for the playoffs.
In the previous match, the change in their batting order didn't work as they lost three quick wickets. They dropped Angelo Perera down to three and Sadeera Samarawickrama to open with Niroshan Dickwella. Although keeping a fluid batting order has worked for them so far, it could backfire in crunch moments. Also, it has been pretty apparent that the Viiking rely heavily on Niroshan Dickwella to do heavy hitting at the top.
In the bowling department as well, they appear to be a little light. It was seen in their previous outing against Galle Gladiators as the Gladiators managed to put 198 runs on the board despite coming off a poor run.
All in all, the Viiking certainly have a few chinks in their armor and would need momentum to tackle Galle Gladiators. The Viikings were caught napping in their previous match and if they do not step up their game, things can go south pretty quickly for them in this upcoming match.
Niroshan Dickwella, WU Tharanga, Dilshan Madushanka, PR Stirling, Dasun Shanaka, Samit Patel, Angelo Perera, Ramesh Mendis, S Tyagi, Kasun Rajitha, Samiullah Shenwari.
It is an important match for Galle Gladiators, but not so much for Dambulla Viikings. We expect the Viikings to experiment a bit before the knockouts and that might just give an edge to the Gladiators. Given the kind of win the Gladiators are coming off, they will be a difficult side to beat. With most of their contributing now, we expect the Gladiators to come out on top in the upcoming encounter.
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