HAMBANTOTA: The first edition of the Lanka Premier League, a T20 franchise cricket tournament, kicked off on Thursday.
Five teams named after Sri Lankan cities are participating in the event, namely, Colombo Kings, Galle Gladiators, Kandy Tuskers, Dambulla Viiking and Jafna Stallions.
In the opening game of the tournament, Colombo Kings took on the Kandy Tuskers.
All 23 matches of the 20-day event will be played in Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota.
Initially, matches were scheduled to be played in three cities including Kandy and Dambulla but due to quarantine restrictions, the health officials in the country restricted the event to one city.
The tournament consists of two stages; Round-robin and Knockout.
In the first stage, the five competing teams will play 20 matches. The top four teams will then advance to the semi-finals and the winning sides of the knockout games will meet in the final on December 16.
Many big names like Chris Gayle, Faf du Plessis, Lasith Malinga and Ravi Bopara have pulled out from the tournament due to various reasons.
However, the tournament is still star-studded with the likes of Shahid Afridi, Dale Steyn, Irfan Pathan, Andre Russell, Angelo Mathews, Mohammad Amir and Brendan Taylor and many other players.
The following are the participating squads:
Shahid Afridi, Hazratullah Zazai, Mohammad Amir, Danushka Gunatilleka, Bhanuka Rajapakse, Akila Dananjaya, Milinda Siriwardena, Azam Khan, Lakshan Sandakan, Shehan Jayasuriya, Asitha Fernando, Nuwan Thushara, Mohammed Shiraz, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Chanaka Ruwansiri, Sahan Arachchi, Duvindu Tillakaratne, Chadwick Walton, Ashan Ali, Abdul Nasir, Waqas Maqsood
Angelo Mathews, Andre Russell, Manpreet Singh Gony, Isuru Udana, Dinesh Chandimal, Amila Aponso, Ashan Priyanjaya, Ravinderpal Singh, Dusmantha Chameera, Jefferey Vandersay, Thikshila de Silva, Pht Kaushal, Lahiru Udara, Himesh Ramanayka, Kalana Perera, Tharindu Rathnayaka, Navod Paranawithana, Qais Ahmad, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Laurie Evans, Karim Khan Sadeq, Dammika Prasad
Kusal Janith Perera, Brendan Taylor, Kusal Mendis, Nuwan Pradeep, Seekkuge Prasanna, Asela Gunerathne, Naveen-ul-Haq, Kamindu Mendis, Dilruwan Perera, Priyamal Perera, Kamindu Mendis, Dilruwan Perera, Priyamal Perera, Kavisha Anjula, Lasith Embuldeniya, Lahiru Samarakoon, Nishan Madushka Fernando, Chamika Edirisinghe, Ishan Jayaratne, Irfan Pathan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Sohail Tanvir, Munaf Patel, Dale Steyn, Kevin Kottigoda, Vishwa Fernando
Thisara Perera, Johnson Charles, Wanidu Hasaranga, Shoaib Malik, Usman Shinwari, Avishka Fernando, Dananjaya de Silva, Suranga Lakmal, Binura Fernando, Minod Bhanuka, Chathuranga de Silva, Mahesh Theekshana, Charith Asalanka, Nuwandinu Fernando, Kanakaratnam Kapilraj, Thevendiram Dinoshan, Vijayakanth Vijayakanth, Kyle Abbott, Duanne Olivier, Tom Moores, Prabhath Jayasuriya, Sebastianpillai Vijeyaraj
Dasun Shanaka, Samit Patel, Samiullah Shenwari, Anwar Ali, Niroshan Dickwella, Lahiru Kumara, Oshada Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Paul Stirling, Lahiru Madushanka, Upul Tharanga, Angelo Perera, Ramesh Mendis, Pulina Tharanga, Ashen Bandara, Dilshan Madushanka, Kavindu Naveeshan, Sachindu Colombage, Sundeep Tyagi, Malinda Pushpakumara, Aftab Alam