Greetings & good day to all my readers!!! Cricket is back on the field is all set to have a busy schedule in both the domestic leagues and international calendar. It is one of the enjoyable and tough times being a cricket fan consistently switching between different matches every day. Lanka Premier League (LPL) was set to be launched in August 2020 by the Sri Lankan Cricket Board (SLC) after the huge success of T20 leagues across different nations, but the COVID-19 pandemic halted the proceedings.  After a lot of changes and considerations, Lanka Premier League is all set to kick off on 26-November 2020 with 5 teams. The final is scheduled to be played on 11-December-2020.

SLC Super Provincial T20 was the T20 tournament conducted by SLC from 2008 to 2016 before the Lanka Premier League. It did not follow the franchise-based model for the teams. They tried to replace the domestic tournament with different league formats such as Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) in 2012, SLC Twenty tournament in 2017, and SLC T20 league in the 2018 season respectively. But, they failed to create interest among the public and were eventually shelled off after their first season. Finally, SLC adopted a franchise-based model with 5 teams based on the cities and adopted the LPL this year.

LPL 2020 Teams

 The Lanka Premier League teams are formed based on their city`s as follows.

  1. Colombo Kings
  2. Dambulla Hawks
  3. Galle Gladiators
  4. Jaffna Stallions
  5. Kandy tuskers

Lanka Premier League adopted the draft system for picking up players by each team and it happened on 19 October 2020 after being rescheduled for a couple of times earlier. Every team is allowed to have a squad strength of 20 players with a maximum of 6 foreign players. As per the LPL rules, 4 foreign players may be allowed in the playing XI of the team in every match.

LPL 2020 Schedule

LPL 2020 is scheduled to have 23 T20 matches between 5 teams with 20 league games and 3 knock-out games including the grand finals. All 23 matches will be played at the same venue Mahinda Rajapaksa International stadium (MRICS) at Hambantota due to bio-bubble requirements. Earlier the matches were planned to be played at three venues namely Kandy, Colombo, and Hambantota. SLC allowed viewed at moving the league to either of Malaysia or UAE owing to their strict quarantine rules in place.

Schedule – League matches

  1. Nov 26, 2020: Colombo Kings v Kandy Tuskers, 2 pm GMT
  2. Nov 27, 2020: Jaffna Stallions v Galle Gladiators, 2 pm GMT
  3. Nov 28, 2020: Kandy Tuskers v Dambulla Hawks, 10 am GMT
  4. Nov 28, 2020: Galle Gladiators v Colombo Kings, 2 pm GMT
  5. Nov 30, 2020: Dambulla Hawks v Jaffna Stallions, 10 am GMT
  6. Nov 30, 2020: Kandy Tuskers v Galle Gladiators, 2 pm GMT
  7. Dec 1, 2020: Colombo Kings v Dambulla Hawks, 10 am GMT
  8. Dec 1, 2020: Jaffna Stallions v Kandy Tuskers, 2 pm GMT
  9. Dec 3, 2020: Galle Gladiators v Jaffna Stallions, 10 am GMT
  10. Dec 3, 2020: Dambulla Hawks v Kandy Tuskers, 2 pm GMT
  11. Dec 4, 2020: Colombo Kings v Jaffna Stallions, 2 pm GMT
  12. Dec 5, 2020: Dambulla Hawks v Galle Gladiators, 10 am GMT
  13. Dec 5, 2020: Kandy Tuskers v Colombo Kings, 2 pm GMT
  14. Dec 7, 2020: Colombo Kings v Galle Gladiators, 10 am GMT
  15. Dec 7, 2020: Jaffna Stallions v Dambulla Hawks, 2 pm GMT
  16. Dec 9, 2020: Kandy Tuskers v Jaffna Stallions, 10 am GMT
  17. Dec 9, 2020: Galle Gladiators v Dambulla Hawks, 2 pm GMT
  18. Dec 10, 2020: Jaffna Stallions v Colombo Kings, 10 am GMT
  19. Dec 10, 2020: Galle Gladiators v Kandy Tuskers, 2 pm GMT
  20. Dec 11, 2020: Dambulla Hawks v Colombo Kings, 2 pm GMT

Schedule – LPL 2020 Semi-final matches

Dec 13, 2020: Semi-final 1, 2 pm GMT

Dec 14, 2020: Semi-final 2, 2 pm GMT

Schedule – LPL 2020 Final

Dec 16, 2020: Final, 2 pm GMT

LPL 2020 Teams and players

 Lanka Premier League received good support and interest among the foreign players too alongside local Sri Lankan players with almost 150 players taking place in the draft. A total of around 70-80 players to picked by teams in the drafts by different franchises. And a lot of players picked up in the draft pulled out of the league owing to various reasons and teams were allowed to pick replacements for them. International players such as Faf Du Plessis, David Miller, Dawid Malan, Mohammed Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed, and Wahab Riaz pulled out of the tournament owing to their national commitments in the same timeframe.

Now let us analyze the different teams and their player compositions of LPL to understand their strengths and weakness in their squad

Colombo Kings

Captain: Angelo Mathews

Squad: Isuru Udana, Dinesh Chandimal, Amila Aponso, Ashan Priyanjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Jeffery Vandersay, Thikshila de Silva, Pht Kaushal, Lahiru Udara, Himesh Ramanayka, Kalana Perera, Tharindu Rathnayaka, Navod Paranawithana,  Andre Russell, Manpreet Singh Gony, Ravinderpal Singh, Laurie Evans, Qais Ahmed

Colombo Kings are lead the Sri Lankan All-rounder Angelo Mathews this season. They have a very experienced batting line-up with the likes of Laurie Evans, Andre Russell, and Dinesh Chandimal in the middle order. Dushmantha Chameera, Manpreet Gony, and Isuru Udana will be their strike bowlers in the pace department while the likes of Qais Ahmed and Jeffrey Vandersay will control the spin bowling in the middle overs.

Best playing XI:

Angelo Mathews (C), Dinesh Chandimal (Wk), Dushmantha Chameera, Jeffery Vandersay, Andre Russell, Manpreet Singh Gony, Ravinderpal Singh, Laurie Evans, Qais Ahmed, Tharindu Kaushal, Kalana Perera2.

Dambulla Hawks

Captain: Dasun Shanaka

Squad: Niroshan Dickwella, Lahiru Kumara, Oshada Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Madushanka, Upul Tharanga, Angelo Perera, Ramesh Mendis, Pulina Tharanga, Ashen Bandara, Dilshan Madushanka, Sachindu Colombage, Lendl Simmons, Brendan Taylor, Johnson Charles, Samit Patel, Paul Stirling.

Young big-hitting all-rounder Dasun Shanaka will captain the Dambulla Hawks team this season.  They have excellent firepower in their batting line-up with the likes of Brendan Taylor, Upul Tharanga, Paul Stirling, Niroshan Dickwella, Lendl Simmons, and Johnson Charles. Lahiru Kumara, Oshado Fernando, and Kasun Rajitha will be their pace bowling trio of the team with Samit Patel leading the spin attack.

Best playing XI:

Dasun Shanaka (C), Niroshan Dickwella (Wk), Brendan Taylor, Upul Tharanga, Paul Stirling, Lendl Simmons, Lahiru Kumara, Oshado Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Samit Patel, Dilshan Madushankae

Galle Gladiators

Captain: Lasith Malinga

Squad: Danushka Gunatillaka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Akila Dananjaya, Milinda Siriwardena, Lakshan Sandakan, Shehan Jayasuriya, Asitha Fernando, Nuwan Thushara, Mohomed Shiraz, Dhanjaya Lakshan, Chanaka Ruwansiri, Shahid Afridi, Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Amir, Azam Khan, Chadwick Walton, Ahsan Ali.

Veteran Sri Lankan Bowler Lasith Malinga is the skipper of the Galle Gladiators team. Hazaratullah Zazai, Chadwick Walton, Milinda Siriwardene, Danushka Gunathilaka, Shehan Jayasuriya will form the core of their batting line-up and have experience of playing in big stages. They have arguably the strongest spin bowling department with the likes of Akila Dannajaya, Shahid Afridi, and Lakshan Sandakan. Mohammed Amir and Lasith Malinga will form a deadly duo with the new ball.

Best playing XI:

Lasith Malinga (C), Chadwick Walton (Wk), Hazaratullah Zazai, Milinda Siriwardene, Danushka Gunathilaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Akila Dannajaya, Shahid Afridi, Lakshan Sandakan, Mohammed Amir, Asitha Fernando

Jaffna Stallions

Captain: Thisara Perera

Squad: , Wanindu Hasaranga, Avishka Fernando, Dananjaya de Silva, Suranga Lakmal, Binura Fernando, Minod Bhanuka, Chathuranga de Silva, Mahesh Theekshana, Charith Asalanka, Nuvinidu Fernando, Kanagaratnam Kapilraj, Theivendiram Dinoshan, Yiyakanth Yiyaskanth, Shoaib Malik, Usman Shinwari, Ravi Bopara, Kyle Abbott, Duanne Olivier.

Thisara Perera is one of the biggest names from Sri Lanka in the T20 format and will lead his team this season. Shoaib Malik, Dananjaya De Silva, Ravi Bopara, and Avishka Fernando will be batting mainstays and they have a good mix of youth and experience in the squad. They have arguably the best fast bowling department with foreign imports such as Usman Shinwari, Duanne Olivier, Kyle Abbott alongside Suranga Lakmal. Leggie Wanidu Hathurasinghe will be bowling spearhead in the spin department alongside all-rounders.

Best playing XI:

Thisara Perera (C), Minod Banuka (Wk), Shoaib Malik, Dananjaya De Silva, Ravi Bopara, Avishka Fernando, Kyle Abbott, Suranga Lakmal, Wanidu Hathurasinghe, Duanne Olivier, Binura Fernando

Kandy Tuskers

Captain: Kusal Mendis

Squad: Kusal Janith Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Seekkuge Prasanna, Asela Gunerathne, Kamindu Mendis, Dilruwan Perera, Priyamal Perera, Kavisha Anjula, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lahiru Samarakoon, Nishan Madushka Fernando, Chamika Edirisinghe, Ishan Jayaratne, Chris Gayle, Liam Plunkett, Irfan Pathan, Naveen-ul-Haq

Kandy Tuskers have a strong core of Sri-Lankan local players in the batting department with the likes of Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, and Asela Gunaratne. They will also have the services of T20 monster Chris Gayle for their team at the top. Liam Plunkett, Irfan Pathan, Naveen-Ul-Haq, and Nuwan Pradeep will form the pace bowling attack of the team. Seekuge Prasanna, Dilruwan Perera, Kamindu Mendis, and Lasith Embuldeniya will be their spin bowling attack and have the experience and quality to bowl against any batting line-up.

Best playing XI:

Kusal Mendis (C), Kusal Perera (Wk), Chris Gayle, Asela Gunaratne, Seekuge Prasanna, Dilruwan Perera, Liam Plunkett, Irfan Pathan, Nuwan Pradeep, Nishan madushanka, Lasith Embuldeniya

Hope everyone enjoyed reading about the updates and schedule of the Lanka Premier League (LPL). Please tune up for the inaugural Lanka Premier League all set to begin on November 26, 020. And please look out for our match predictions before placing your bets and creating a dream XI team.

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