December 3: Dambulla Viiking vs Kandy Tuskers, Hambantota

Pro Tip: In the first four games of the season, spinners took only seven wickets whereas in the next four, they bagged 21 wickets. So make sure you have enough spinners and spin-bowling allrounders in your side.

Our XI: Niroshan Dickwella, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, Brendan Taylor, Samit Patel, Asela Gunaratne, Anwar Ali, Malinda Pushpakumara, Naveen-ul-Haq

Substitutes: Upul Tharanga, Paul Stirling, Dale Steyn, Pulina Tharanga

Player availability: The Viiking's Oshada Fernando is still recovering from his injury and is unavailable for this game. Dale Steyn might be available for the Tuskers, but allrounder Irfan Pathan is still not fit. 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: Brendan Taylor

After missing the initial few matches, Taylor has impressed with knocks of 51 not out from 35 balls and 46 from 32. The 34-year old Zimbabwe wicketkeeper-batsman brings a wealth of T20 experience, having also played in the BPL, PSL and Natwest T20 Blast in the past.

Vice-captain: Samit Patel

The experienced allrounder Patel has scored 129 runs and picked up four wickets in three games in the LPL so far. He is enjoying a phenomenal year in the sub-continent after being the only player in PSL 2020 to score 150-plus runs as well as take ten wickets.

Hot Picks

Dasun Shanaka: Shanaka might not have bowled much so far this season, but is the second-highest run-getter with 164 runs in three innings. The runs have also come at a strike rate of 178.26, including ten sixes. He has two half-centuries so far, including a Man-of-the-Match knock of 54 in the previous match.

Kusal Mendis: Sri Lanka's all-format player Mendis has been the top run-scorer for his side in LPL 2020, with 133 runs at a strike rate of 149.43. He is known for his ability to pierce gaps but in this edition, he is the second-highest six-hitter with 11 sixes in just four games.

Asela Gunaratne: Gunaratne's all-round skills have been on display in the four games so far, where he has played crucial cameos and also picked up six wickets. That also makes him the joint second-highest wicket taker.

Differential Picks

Naveen-ul-Haq: Even if Dale Steyn is back in the team, our first-choice pacer for the Tuskers is Naveen-ul-Haq. He is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament currently with eight wickets in four games. Since December 2019, he has picked up 26 wickets in 21 T20s.

Malinda Pushpakumara: From not getting to bowl in the second game to a wonderful spell of 4-0-19-2 in the third, Pushpakumara brought his experience into play. He is also consistent wicket-taker in T20s, with 70 wickets in 45 matches so far.

Alternate Scenarios

  • Upul Tharanga can replace the Tuskers' captain Kusal Perera, who has got out similarly in three of the four games so far - caught at square leg while attempting to pull - as teams might have found a way to get him out.

  • Paul Stirling can replace Niroshan Dickwella, both of whom are yet to score big runs in the tournament.