How teams accumulate
On the surface Galle Gladiators I don’t deserve to be in this final. They won only a third of their matches in the tournament, and their opponents in the semifinals suffered several injuries in Sunday’s match. And yet, when you look at the attack, they suddenly managed to gather at the end of the tournament, you can’t even face your place.
Probably the discovery of the tournament was Dhananjaya Lakshan, who ties the ball to the right substantially and has a collection of slower balls. Nuwan Thushara, who shoots with a round arm like Lasith Malinga, was effective with the new ball and to death. Lakshan Sandakan found a T20 strategy that seemed to work for him: he frequently pushed the ball wide, while also throwing it faster than usual. Mohammad Amir led the attack, enjoying the changing conditions the tournament has seen in the last week. As if by magic, the Gladiators have three of the top five pack players in the tournament, with Sandakan taking 11 packs, while Lakshan and Amir have 10 pieces.
And yet, despite this, The Jaffna stallions they feel that their attack is still the best in the competition. Largely this is due to Wanindu Hasaranga, who was the monster of the middle tournament, taking 16 counters in total and even more impressive, maintaining an economic rate of 5.27 in the 33 overs. To put this economic rate in perspective, no other bowler who has taken a counter in the LPL can be close to matching it. The bats know they have to pay attention to his googly and yet they have given up en masse.
There is also variety here. Usman Shinwari’s rhythm can be implemented almost anywhere in the innings. Duanne Olivier played bowling much slower than he could, but worked on his control during the tournament. And as seen on Monday, Dhananjaya de Silva is an excellent support player, especially when playing left-handed (gladiators Danushka Gunathilaka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa are both left-handed beats), and Shoaib Malik’s arrows can be effective through overs and even to death.
On the battlefront, there are fewer parties. Gunathilaka made a hard touch at the top of the half for Galle, but although they rushed to reach the modest target on Sunday, that average order still seems a little weak. Meanwhile, the stallions had runs from Avishka Fernando and Thisara Perera throughout the tournament, but there is no one in this line who can be said to be in an irresistible form.
Take care of
Gunathilaka against Stallions’ spinners
In the previous two games against the Stallions, Gunathilaka won 56 of 44 and 38 of 30 and was fired on both occasions by Hasaranga. In the end, he may have to face a different spinner before he even reaches Hasaranga. The stallions unleashed Dhananjaya de Silva’s offspin at the top of the half on Sunday, with excellent effect, and maybe they will do it again to target Gunathilaka in particular.
Mohammad Amir v. Avishka Fernando
If there is a team that Fernando enjoyed playing in this tournament, it was the Gladiators. He made 92 not 63 of 63 against them in their first match and 84 of 59 in their second. The Stallions haven’t played since Amir’s bowling came to life late in the league, however, and Fernando has been a nervous starter against the rhythm. If there is a swing in the air, it is formed as an intriguing battle.
Head to head
In spirit, this is not the same Gladiators outfit that Stallions played in the league stage, but for what it deserves, Stallions gave up two victories following 176 and 171.
Gladiators sweated on the fitness of Chadwick Walton and Thushara. Walton, who fired a hamster, is unlikely to play, but captain Bhanuka Rajapaksa said he would consider Walton to be on the sidelines if he were at least “75% fit”. Meanwhile, Asíhara played the semifinal with a black, which could have made the injury worse. He will be evaluated before the match.
Galle Gladiators (probable): 1 Danushka Gunathilaka, 2 Ahsan Ali, 3 Bhanuka Rajapaksa (capt.), 4 Azam Khan (wk), 5 Sahan Arachchige, 6 Shehan Jayasuriya, 7 Chanaka Ruwansiri, 8 Dhananjaya Lakshan, 9 Mohammad Amir, 10 Lakshan Sandakan , 11 Nuwan Thushara
The stallions understand that they have a complete team to choose from. They will probably go with the same XI.
The Jaffna stallions (probable): 1 Avishka Fernando, 2 Johnson Charles (wk), 3 Charith Asalanka, 4 Shoaib Malik, 5 Thisara Perera (capt.), 6 Dhananjaya de Silva, 7 Chaturanga de Silva, 8 Wanindu Hasaranga, 9 Suranga Lakmal, 10 Usman Shinwari, 11 Duanne Olivier
Statistics and trivia
- The Galle Gladiators took their counters to an abysmal average of 49.05 until the fifth game – easily the worst in the league. In their last four matches, they took their counters at 18.78, which is easily the best.
- Wanindu Hasaranga played 97 points balls in the 33 LPLs. This means that almost half of his deliveries were points or counters. He gave up just eight six and nine four.
- Danushka Gunathilaka’s 475 tournament is 227 better than that of Stallions’ most prolific batman, Avishka Fernando.
- When the LPL franchises went on sale, Galle was the first to be broken by Quetta Gladiators owner Nadeem Omar.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is the ESPNcricinfo correspondent in Sri Lanka. @afidelf