Team Kandy chased down the target of 197 set by Team Galle, to finish their SLC T20 League campaign on a high as they, along with Team Galle, bow out of the tournament. Team Kandy won the match played at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium by 5 wickets.
Galle skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, won the toss and opted to bat first, in a must-win game. They fielded an identical XI to the XI which beat Dambulla yesterday. Meanwhile Kandy, who are already out of the tournament, made one change to the XI which handed them their first win of the tournament in the previous game against Colombo.
Openers Kusal Mendis and Lahiru Milantha gave Team Galle a brilliant start as they posted 70 runs in the first 4 overs. Champion T20 bowler Lasith Malinga, who bowled the 3rd over, was hit for 22 runs by the young duo.
Charith Asalanka then from nowhere came into the act, as his off-spin dented the Galle batting line-up with 4 quick wickets in just 2 overs. Milantha (24) was the first wicket to fall followed by skipper Karunaratne (4), Mendis (43) and finally Dhananjaya de Silva (4).
Kusal Mendis was in fact on the verge of breaking TM Dilshan’s record for the fastest T20 fifty by a Sri Lankan. Dilshan had scored his half-century in 18 balls in a T20 match against Sussex in 2014, while Kusal Mendis was on 41 in just 13 balls at one stage.
Following Asalanka’s quick strikes, Angelo Perera and Asela Gunaratne put on a 107-run partnership for the 5th wicket in 12.1 overs. Lasith Malinga, who was quite expensive today, eventually got the breakthrough for Kandy with one of his signature slow yorkers to dismiss Angelo Perera (47).
Asela Gunaratne however remained unbeaten as Galle posted a very competitive score of 196 losing 5 wickets in their allotted 20 overs. Charith Asalanka ended as the pick of the bowlers for Kandy, with figures of 4 for 14 in 3 overs.
The run-chase for Kandy didn’t begin well as they lost both their openers, Kusal Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne to Dhananjaya de Silva in the 3rd over. Kandy was reeling on 6/2 at the end of the 3rd over chasing 197.
Skipper Angelo Mathews together with Dasun Shanaka then put on the match-winning partnership for Kandy adding 134 runs for the 3rd wicket in just 12.2 overs. Angelo Mathews had contributed 46 runs when he was bowled, off a Kasun Rajitha delivery, in the 38th ball he faced.
Photo Album: Galle Vs Kandy | SLC T20 LEAGUE – 2018.08.30
Dasun Shanaka then on single handedly carried Kandy towards victory as 2 quick wickets fell at the other end. He reached his 3rd T20 century as Team Kandy chased down the target with 4 balls remaining.
With this loss Team Galle too are eliminated from the tournament, which paves way for Team Dambulla to get to the finals against Team Colombo, despite the result in tonight’s game.