Watch the Lanka Premier League – Sri Lanka’s new franchise T20 tournament – live on Sky Sports from Thursday; Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Amir among the players involved while Samit Patel leads English interest
Last Updated: 23/11/20 1:30pm
After the IPL and the PSL comes the LPL.
The Lanka Premier League will see Sri Lanka’s players and a number of overseas stars compete in 23 T20s across three weeks in Hambantota.
Every match from the inaugural edition of the competition will be shown live on Sky Sports, starting with Thursday’s clash between Colombo Kings and Kandy Tuskers (1.30pm, Sky Sports Cricket).
Live Lanka Premier League
November 26, 2020, 1:30pm
Jaffna Stallions, Galle Gladiators and Dambulla Viiking are the other funky-named sides in the tournament, which ends on Wednesday, December 16.
Here are the reasons you should tune in…
English and Irish interest
The LPL will be missing the top-ranked T20I batsman on the planet, with Dawid Malan withdrawing from Jaffna Stallions’ squad due to the tournament clashing with England’s white-ball tour of South Africa. However, the Stallions do have hard-hitting Nottinghamshire wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Moores, part of the Outlaws squad that won the 2020 Vitality Blast in early October.
Moores’ Nottinghamshire team-mate Samit Patel – who recently helped Lahore Qalandars to the final of the Pakistan Super League – will turn out for Dambulla Viiking, whose head coach is former England batsman Owais Shah. Surrey’s Laurie Evans and Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond will also feature, with the batsmen signing for Colombo Kings.
There will be an Irishman involved, too, with Paul Stirling joining Patel at Viiking – the franchise hoping he can replicate the sort of form that saw him hit a hundred in an ODI against England at The Ageas Bowl in August.
Boom Boom in action
The T20 veteran that is Shahid Afridi will captain Galle Gladiators – albeit not for their first two games, with his arrival in Sri Lanka delayed after he missed his flight. Boom Boom has played in 319 T20 matches in his career, taking 342 wickets, including three for Multan Sultans in the recent PSL play-offs.
Afridi’s countryman Mohammad Amir is also in the Gladiators’ squad having been overlooked for Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand, while other T20 experts due to play include West Indies’ Andre Russell (Colombo) and Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik (Jaffna), the latter recently having passed the milestone of 400 Twenty20 appearances, something only West Indians Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard have also achieved.
Sri Lanka’s ambidextrous spinner
England first encountered Kamindu Mendis on their tour of Sri Lanka in late 2018, first in a warm-up game and then in a fully-fledged T20I. The now 22-year-old is capable of bowling right-arm off-breaks as well as left-arm spin, skills Kandy Tuskers’ opponents may have to counter over the coming weeks. They may also have to counter former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, who, save for a couple of appearances for India Legends earlier this year, has not played any cricket since February 2019. Irfan may fill the void left by fellow left-armer Wahab Riaz, who withdrew from his spell with Kandy due to selection for Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand.
It’s a short, sharp tournament
With 23 games crammed into three weeks, there will be no time for the five-team tournament to drag. Each team plays the others twice in the group stage with the top four advancing to the semi-finals on December 13 and 14 and the winners of those meeting in the final on December 16. Most days in the group stage are double-headers starting on Saturday with Kandy vs Dambulla and Galle vs Colombo. What’s more, the games are at good times for UK viewers, with fixtures starting at 10am and 2pm.
Watch the Lanka Premier League live on Sky Sports Cricket from Thursday.
LANKA PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES
Thursday, November 26: Colombo Kings vs Kandy Tuskers (2pm)
Friday, November 27: Galle Gladiators vs Jaffna Stallions (2pm)
Saturday, November 28: Dambulla Viiking vs Kandy Tuskers (10am) & Colombo Kings vs Galle Gladiators (2pm)
Monday, November 30: Dambulla Viiking vs Jaffna Stallions (10am) & Galle Gladiators vs Kandy Tuskers (2pm)
Tuesday, December 1: Colombo Kings vs Dambulla Viiking (10am) & Jaffna Stallions vs Kandy Tuskers (2pm)
Thursday, December 3: Galle Gladiators vs Jaffna Stallions (10am) & Dambulla Viiking vs Kandy Tuskers (2pm)
Friday, December 4: Colombo Kings vs Jaffna Stallions (2pm)
Saturday, December 5: Dambulla Viiking vs Galle Gladiators (10am) & Colombo Kings vs Kandy Tuskers (2pm)
Monday, December 7: Colombo Kings vs Galle Gladiators (10am) & Dambulla Viiking vs Jaffna Stallions (2pm)
Wednesday, December 9: Jaffna Stallions vs Kandy Tuskers (10am) & Dambulla Viiking vs Galle Gladiators (2pm)
Thursday, December 10: Colombo Kings vs Jaffna Stallions (10am) & Galle Gladiators vs Kandy Tuskers (2pm)
Friday, December 11: Colombo Kings vs Dambulla Viiking (2pm)
Sunday, December 13: Semi-Final 1 (2pm)
Monday, December 14: Semi-Final 2 (2pm)
Wednesday, December 16: Final (2pm)