The wait for Galle Gladiators’ maiden win in the Lanka Premier League 2020 was delayed further as Dambulla Viiking managed to clinch a 9-run victory in a thrilling game worked out at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium.
The star of the show was Pakistan pacer Anwar Ali, who picked up 3 wickets, guiding Viiking to a semifinal berth of the tournament.
The Skipper of Dambulla Viiking, Dasun Shanaka, won the toss and elected to bat first with only one change to their playing XI.
Dambulla Viiking | In – Sudeep Tyagi | Out – Sachindu Colombage
Galle Gladiators | In – Milinda Siriwardene| Out – Akila Dhananjaya
Shanaka wanted his top order to fire, something that had not really happened throughout the tournament. Responding to their Skipper’s request, Viiking’s openers Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga came all guns blazing against the Gladiators bowling unit to put up the highest first wicket partnership of the tournament so far.
The pair added 110 for the first wicket at a rate of 8.68 thanks to the Gladiators’ ordinary bowling and below-par fielding. Dickwella was the aggressor of the partnership as he raised away for a half-century in just 30 balls, not giving away his wicket like in previous innings.
The calm head of that partnership, Tharanga, shifted gears after the dismissal of Dickwella as he registered his maiden LPL half century. The veteran made 77 off just 54 balls, while the Skipper Shanaka also played a cameo of 37 runs to guide Viiking to 207.
It was a horror show for any Cricket fan as the bowlers continued to serve pie after another, except for Pakistan veteran Mohammad Amir, who was a class apart. Amir gave away only 23 runs in his 4-over quota but did not receive any support from other end.
If anyone thought the standard of fielding was poor in the first innings, Viiking’s fielders made sure to make Gladiators fielding look much better with their effort in the 2nd inning. The catching was terrible as they dropped 5 catches within Gladiators’ innings.
However, the responsibility of batting fell on their main play-maker Dhanushka Gunathilaka, as Ahsan Ali and Bhanuka Rajapaksa failed again.
Gunathilaka, who is the current highest scorer of the tournament, produced another gem of an innings, stroking his 3rd half-century of the tournament and planting the seeds of hope for the Gladiators’ maiden win. He was well-supported by 22-year-old Azam Khan, who bludgeoned a 24-ball-55 to keep the asking rate under control.
Gunathilaka was on his seventies when they needed 21 off 2 overs to complete the win, but Anwar Ali produced a brilliant over amidst all the carnage (including the misfields and drop catches) to concede only 4 runs plus the wicket of Gunathilaka. He ended up with figures of 3/37, affirming the Viiking win by 9 runs.
With this win, Dambulla Viiking have managed to climb to the 2nd position of the points table and qualify for the semifinals accompanied by Jaffna Stallions.
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|Upul Tharanga||c Dhananjaya Lakshan b Asitha Fernando||77||54||11||1||142.59|
|Niroshan Dickwella||c Shehan Jayasuriya b Lakshan Sandakan||60||37||5||3||162.16|
|Dasun Shanaka||c Mohammad Amir b Dhananjaya Lakshan||37||21||2||3||176.19|
|Samit Patel||b Dhananjaya Lakshan||1||3||0||0||33.33|
|Samiullah Shinwari||not out||9||5||2||0||180.00|
|Angelo Perera||not out||9||3||0||1||300.00|
|Extras||14 (b 0 , lb 8 , nb 3, w 3, pen 0)|
|Total||207/4 (20 Overs, RR: 10.35)|
|Did not bat||Ramesh Mendis, Anwar Ali, Malinda Pushpakumara, Sudeep Tyagi, Kasun Rajitha,|
|Danushka Gunathilaka||c Angelo Perera b Anwar Ali||78||52||10||1||150.00|
|Ahsan Ali||c Anwar Ali b Samit Patel||19||16||3||0||118.75|
|Bhanuka Rajapakse||st Niroshan Dickwella b Ramesh Mendis||5||4||1||0||125.00|
|Azam Khan||c Lahiru Madushanka b Dasun Shanaka||55||24||7||3||229.17|
|Chadwick Walton||c Niroshan Dickwella b Anwar Ali||15||12||1||1||125.00|
|Shehan Jayasuriya||c Ramesh Mendis b Anwar Ali||1||2||0||0||50.00|
|Milinda Siriwardane||not out||13||9||1||1||144.44|
|Dhananjaya Lakshan||lbw b Kasun Rajitha||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Mohammad Amir||not out||1||1||0||0||100.00|
|Extras||11 (b 0 , lb 4 , nb 1, w 6, pen 0)|
|Total||198/7 (20 Overs, RR: 9.9)|
|Did not bat||Lakshan Sandakan, Asitha Fernando,|