The bridesmaids of the league so far, Galle will be dearly hoping that they avoid another final defeat. But before that, do they have a team that can take them to the final this time as well? Let’s find out in this article.
As was the case with the previous squad analysis, we will be taking Galle’s squad under the microscope and asses it on the basis of powerplay, middle-over and death-over batting, powerplay and death-over bowling, variations available with the ball, and their fifth bowling option.
Nipun Malinga, Lakshan Gamage, and Sammu Ashan will not be considered in the analysis as the data available on them is scarce.
Kusal Mendis will be a big part of Galle’s puzzle as he is of Sri Lanka’s and Galle will have to rely solely on him for fast starts. Mendis’ powerplay strike rate is only second to that of Dickwella in the LPL among all Sri Lankan players available in this tournament and he will have to shoulder a lot of responsibility this time around as Galle will be definitely missing the services of Danishka Gunathilaka.
Kusal Janith Perera should ideally open the batting along with Mendis as Galle don’t have too many options. Even though during his heyday, Kusal Perera can tear bowling attacks apart, his form has been patchy of late and how well he will fare on his return after a major surgery is moot. If the left-hander can click, Galle’s opening partnership is going to set stadiums on fire. But to be realistic, much can’t be expected of Perera.
Spin shouldn’t trouble Galle as Mendis has done exceptionally well against spin of late and Nuwanidu Fernando, who I will slot at 3, seems to be a good player of spin. Consequently, I will give Galle’s powerplay batting a rating of 50 out of 100.
The imperious Azam Khan, whose ethereal ball striking has captured everyone’s attention except the Pakistani selectors’, has the ability to win matches for Galle on his own head and Galle should consider themselves fortunate that the burly Pakistani has agreed to tour the island one more time. He along with Kusal Mendis, if he survives till the middle overs, should completely rule out the option of bowling medium pace at Galle during the middle overs.
However, Azam Khan has struggled against slow left-arm spin and Galle don’t have a left-hander to shield him. Both Nuwanidu Fernando and Movin Subasinghe have good potential against spin but if that would be enough is a big question. And if Azam Khan gets out early and Kusal Mendis doesn’t last the powerplay, then the entire middle order may become a suspect against away spin.
Considering Azam Khan’s ability and the potential of Nuwanidu and Movin, I will rate Galle’s middle-over batting 67 out of 100.
Galle’s lower order is undoubtedly the worst in the tournament as they are left with no power hitter down the order. I will play Imad Wasim at 7 and his record against pace is decent but he is not someone Galle can rely on. Iftikhar Ahmed’s strike rate against medium pace is way better than his strike rate against spin, but still, it is below par for someone batting at number 6. Besides, Galle also do not have anyone who can bat at number 8 so their batsmen will have to take very calculated risks. Their death-over batting, which is the worst in the tournament, gets them a rating of 19 out of 100.
In contrast to their batting, Galle have one of the better bowling attacks in the tournament. Imad Wasim is an excellent powerplay bowler, and the swing Nuwan Thushara gets with the new ball makes Galle a very good bowling side during the powerplay. Mohammad Hasnain offers express pace while Galle can find a decent traditional wrist-spin option between Laskhan Sandakan, and Sachindu Colombage. Tharindu Kaushal can bowl fast wrist spin, but he has failed to impress in the limited opportunities he has got so far.
Galle also have the option of Nuwan Pradeep who can touch 140kmph and he along with Mohammad Hasnain could be a decent option at the death. Iftikhar Ahmed, who is an excellent off-spinner, along with Imad Wasim can provide more than just four overs, so Galle’s fifth-bowler quota is not really a worry. I will rate Galle’s bowling attack 64 out of 100.
Unlike the previous seasons, Galle don’t have a strong team on paper and Kusal Mendis and Azam Khan will have to take enormous responsibility with the bat to give Galle’s bowling attack something to bowl at. I will give this team an overall rating of 56 out of 100.
My preferred starting XI:
Kusal Mendis (wk), Kusal Janith Perera, Nuwanidu Fernando, Azam Khan, Movin Subasinghe, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Lakshan Sandakan/Sachindu Colombage/Tharindu Kaushal, Mohammad Hasnain, Nuwan Thushara, Nuwan Pradeep