The defending champions Jaffna Kings led by Thisara Perera once again came up with fine performances to the first team to qualify for playoffs at the second edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL). Their five victories with 10 points paved the way to come on top of the points table. They started with a defeat from Galle Gladiators but fought back strongly to maintain their winning form with a fine team effort.
The last game between Galle Gladiators and Dambulla Giants was a good fight until the last over while Giants recorded a thrilling nine-run win to come second place on the points table. Both Gladiators and Giants are already qualified to play off with seven points each, but Gladiators are in second place with the highest run rate. However, Kandy Warriors and Colombo Stars are still fighting to enter for the last playoff slot and their next two league-round matches are very vital. Colombo Stars got new energy with the presence of their skipper Angelo Mathews and they need only one win out of the next two matches to qualify for playoffs while Kandy Warriors, who still managed to get a solitary win over Galle Gladiators, have to face a tough situation and they should win rest of their two matches with a high run rate. If Colombo stars win at least one game out of their two matches, Kandy Warriors will be eliminated from this tournament. Especially, Colombo Stars Seekkuge Prasanna who made a quickfire knock of 32 in just six balls guided to beat Kandy Warriors with two balls to spare also setting high expectations to qualify for the playoff.
Two matches will be played today (16), Colombo Stars will meet Jaffna Kings in the first game in the afternoon slated for a 3 pm start while the evening game will have a 7.30 pm start with Kandy Warriors set to battle against Dambulla Giants.
The weather interruption can be expected today. However, the ground staff of the R. Premadasa International Stadium has so far done a tremendous job to prepare the grounds and their effort always gives a big boost to continue these matches.
Jaffna Kings already scored the highest team total of 207 for six wickets in 18 overs in their game against Colombo Stars while the lowest total was recorded by Dambulla Giants 69 all out within 14.1 overs against Jaffna Kings. Dambulla Giants opener Phil Salt is the highest run-getter scoring 244 runs in 7 matches while Dinesh Chandimal of Colombo Stars with 225 runs in six matches came at second place. Galle Gladiators experience leg spinner Samit Patel having 13 wickets under his belt came on top of the bowlers’ list. Jaffna Kings mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana, who also picked up 11 wickets in six matches is in second place. Imran Thahir of Dambulla Giants and Colombo Stars Dushmantha Chameera also with 11 wickets each are in third and fourth places among the bowlers. Jaffna Kings leg spinner Chaturanga de Silva was able to get his best figures of 4 for 16 against Dambulla Giants so far in this tournament. The last two matches of the league round between Jaffna Kings and Galle Gladiators will be played tomorrow (17) followed by the game between Colombo Stars and Kandy Warriors at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.
The second stage of the tournament will commence at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium on December 19.
The final game scheduled to be played on December 23 and 24 is also named as a reserve day for the final.