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Nov 28: Dambulla Viiking vs Kandy Tuskers, Hambantota

Pro Tip: Load your team with top-order batsmen, especially from the team batting first, and expect another high-scoring game.

Our XI: Paul Stirling, Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Oshada Fernando, Asela Gunaratne, Samit Patel, Lahiru Kumara, Naveen ul Haq

Substitutes: Ramesh Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, Nuwan Pradeep, Seekkuge Prasanna

Player availability: Dale Steyn and Irfan Pathan might not be available for the Tuskers because of isolation protocols and an injury respectively. We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.

Captain: Kusal Perera

Perera has scored the most T20I runs among current Sri Lankan players, with 1293 at an average of 28.10 and a strike rate of 135.25 in 46 innings. He started the tournament in style too, with a 52-ball 87, which included in nine fours and four sixes.

Vice-captain: Paul Stirling

Stirling is the in-form player for the Viiking. He has played 17 T20s in 2020 and has scored 468 runs in them at an average of 31.20 and a brilliant strike rate of 156. He even scored a 47-ball 95 against a strong West Indies bowling line-up at the start of this year.

Hot Picks

Samit Patel: Patel is one of the premier T20 players in the world, and was one of the top performers at PSL 2020, scoring 188 runs in nine innings and picking up ten wickets. He was the only player in the tournament to pull off the 150-10 double.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz: We picked Gurbaz ahead of Brendan Taylor in the previous game too, and it proved to be a great call. The LPL started off with a bang thanks to his 22-ball 53 and he kept the Tuskers in the Super Over until the last ball.

Niroshan Dickwella: When New Zealand toured Sri Lanka last year, Dickwella scored 96 runs in three T20I innings at a strike rate of 137.14. He can change a game single-handedly on his day.

Differential Picks

Upul Tharanga: The experienced Tharanga has scored more T20 runs than all current Sri Lankan players apart from Thisara Perera, and with 3188 runs from 116 innings at an average of 29.51 and strike rate of 129.22, he can be counted on to deliver.

Lahiru Kumara: Kumara is more of a long-format specialist, but with 18 wickets at a strike rate of 16.8 and an economy rate of 7.56 from 15 T20s, he looks like he has what it takes.

Alternate Scenarios

  • Dasun Shanaka, the Viiking captain, can replace Oshada Fernando as he provides a fine all-round option.

  • Nuwan Pradeep can replace Naveen-ul-Haq since the latter has a minor injury – wait for the toss.



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Cricket

Ishant Sharma gets stitches on bowling hand, but ‘expected to recover in time’ for England Tests

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The fast bowler hurt himself while trying to stop a Ross Taylor drive on the last day of the WTC final

Ishant Sharma required multiple stitches on his bowling hand after sustaining an injury on the last day of the World Test Championship final against New Zealand, but the pacer is expected to be fit in time for India’s five-match Test series against England that starts on August 4.

Sharma tried to stop a drive from Ross Taylor in what turned out to be the penultimate over of the final. He left the field with his hand bleeding, having bowled only two balls in his seventh over, with Jasprit Bumrah completing it.

“Ishant has had multiple stitches on his middle and fourth finger in his right hand. However, it is not very serious,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by PTI. “The stitches will be off in around ten days and with six weeks left for the first Test against England, he is expected to recover in time.”



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Eng vs SL 2021 – Jos Buttler ruled out of Sri Lanka white-ball series with calf injury

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Dawid Malan added to ODI squad after MRI scans reveal small calf tear

Jos Buttler has been ruled out of the rest of England’s white-ball series with Sri Lanka. Buttler sustained a calf tear in Wednesday’s first T20I and will now return home to commence his rehabilitation.

Buttler, England’s vice-captain and wicketkeeper, scored an unbeaten 68 opening the batting in the first T20I. According to the ECB, he “felt tightness and discomfort” at the end of the game and was sent for an MRI scan on Thursday morning, which revealed a small tear. He sat out the second T20I, which England won by five wickets.

England had already suggested they may use the Sri Lanka T20Is to experiment, with Jonny Bairstow moving up to open in Buttler’s absence – although he made a three-ball duck as England initially struggled in their chase of 112. Liam Livingstone, whose unbeaten 29 helped secure victory, regularly opens in T20 cricket and could also deputise.



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ENG vs SL 2nd T20I – Mickey Arthur on England and Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka’s head coach said he wants the batsmen to be more proactive against a world-class England attack

Mickey Arthur has urged his Sri Lanka side to stay patient after they slipped to a second defeat in as many nights in Cardiff, leaving them on a run of 11 defeats in their last 12 completed T20Is dating back to October 2019.
Opting to bat first in both games after winning the toss, Sri Lanka posted scores of 129 and 111, and while they came much closer to defending their total on Thursday night than in Wednesday’s eight-wicket pasting, they always looked a long way short of a par score, failing to hit a boundary in the powerplay for the first time in their T20I history. Arthur, Sri Lanka’s head coach, stressed at the start of the tour that he wanted to add a level of consistency to selection following a turbulent period of chopping and changing, and that it would be important to “nail down the guys’ roles” in this series.
Dasun Shanaka, with scores of 50 and 8 from No. 7, is their leading run-scorer in the series, with Danushka Gunathilaka and Avishka Fernando – backed as opening options for the long term – both struggling to make an impact at the top of the order. Their lack of attacking intent with the bat came under scrutiny on Thursday, but while Arthur suggested that they could be “more proactive” in future, he said that there had been limited opportunities to score against a “world-class” England side on a slow, two-paced pitch being used for the second night in a row.



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