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Lanka Premier League Betting Tips

The origin

The history of T20 leagues in this island nation begins with SLC Super Provincial Twenty20, which was a domestic competition. It was replaced by The Sri Lanka Premier League, which the authorities thought would become the country’s premier T20 tournament but it lasted just a single season (2012) before running into financial and sponsorship problems.

In 2014, the Sri Lankan cricket authorities decided to give the T20 league idea another and this time came up with a peculiarly named tournament called Sri Lanka Cricket Super 4’s T20.

As had been the precedent by then, the new tournament also lasted just one season (2014). Over the next few years, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) mulled and mulled before pulling the trigger on yet another T20 league, this time named the 2020 Lanka Premier League (LPL).

Of all the years, they chose the pandemic-hit year of 2020 for the league, which meant that the inaugural LPL was postponed a number of times. At one point, it got to the point where the fans and stakeholders were not even sure if the maiden season would take place or not. To SLC’s credit, however, the LPL T20 took place and was quite well managed, given the circumstances.

When you consider that it was staged right in the midst of the pandemic, SLC’s ability to keep its bio-secure bubble intact and not let the tournament get derailed was commendable – especially when months later the Pakistan Cricket Board made a hash of its PSL season 2021.

The format

The LPL has a size that is unusual for T20 tournaments. It has five teams, which is quite odd, although a sixth franchise from Trincomalee is to join the party from season 2.

 The five-franchise tourney has another unique thing about itself: foreign ownership. All of its franchises are owned by foreign groups, primarily from India, with the sole exception being Galle Gladiators – a sister franchise of Pakistan Super League side Quetta Gladiators.

Despite it being a new tourney, the LPL attracted a number of T20 stars from around the globe as cricketers jumped at the chance of making a quick buck, especially after Covid’s economic devastation in earlier in the year.

Faf du Plessis, David Miller, Dawid Malan, Chris Gayle, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Tanvir, Carlos Brathwaite were among the players who were picked in a virtual draft held via Zoom. However, several had to drop out due to a number of reasons ranging from finances to international call-ups as well as the 14-day length of the mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Sri Lanka. The latter was eventually halved to seven days but it came at the cost of the tournament being reduced to just one venue (Hambantota) instead of three as originally planned.

Due to the challenges surrounding it, the inaugural LPL’s format was kept as simple as possible. The five teams played each other twice, with the top four sides advancing to the playoffs, which comprised of two basic semi-finals, followed by a final. There were no IPL-style playoffs.

In another year, with no pandemic, no quarantines and better arrangements, that simplicity of the format might be done away with.

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The only champion so far

During the round robin stage of the LPL 2020, Colombo Kings emerged as the top side, opening the tournament with a Super Over win, which counted towards their six victories out of eight matches.

For the majority of the tournament, the Kings were neck and neck with Dambulla Viking, who could have been the round-robin winners, had one of their matches not been washed out due to rain. They eventually finished second behind the Kings.

Meanwhile, Jaffna Stallions were the quickest out of the blocks, winning all of their first four matches before losing four straight but still making the semi-finals.

Then comes the oddity.

Galle Gladiators, the franchise out of Pakistan, were as hapless as they come at the start of the tournament, losing each of their first five games. But when four of the five teams are supposed to qualify, even the listless and the downtrodden have a chance.

The Gladiators have won none of their first five, won two of their final three, and that’s all they needed to not finish bottom, which came with the reward of the final playoffs spot.

And as it is known, in semi-finals format, anything is possible. The Gladiators knocked out the top-ranked Colombo Kings and made the finals, where they lost to the Stallion, who had downed the Viking in their own semi-final earlier.

That’s how the first-ever LPL played out.

Things to note in LPL from a betting perspective

For a tournament that is just one-year old and whose only season came in a pandemic year, it is tough to draw any long-term lessons from a betting perspective.

What we can tell the punters is to carefully analyse squad compositions following each LPL draft before placing their bets. In a nascent tournament such as LPL, squad strength could vary from year to year so assigning strengths and weaknesses in advance could be risky.

Generally speaking though, capital and big city sides do better so watch out for Colombo over the next few years. The Gladiators, being from Pakistan, will practically have a first-refusal on the cream of Pakistani talent so also keep an eye on them.

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Frequently asked questions

When does the LPL take place?
The tournament does not have a fixed window yet for obvious reasons. Last year, it faced multiple delays and kicked off as late as November but this year, it is scheduled to begin July 27, with the final on August 19
Is the LPL prone to match fixing?
Sri Lankan cricket, despite being based in a region considered the epicenter for fixing, has never had a major scandal. It is possible but the tournament is too young right now.
When are the odds for LPL 2021 going to be available?
Since LPL 2021 kicks off in July, the odds for the tournament should become available a month or so earlier.