Jaffna Stallion registered a comprehensive victory over Dambulla Viiking to progress to the final of the inaugural Lanka Premier League 2020 at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium.
The game was sealed by a half century from Johnson Charles and a brilliant spell from Wanindu Hasaranga which took the game away from Dambulla Viiking.
The skipper of Dambulla Viiking Dasun Shanaka won the toss and invited the Jaffna Stallions to bat first with three changes to their playing XI in the all-important game .
- Dambulla Viiking | In – A Fernando, D de Silva, U Shinwari| Out – B Fernando, M Theekshana, T Moores
- Jaffna Stallions | In – R Mendis, K Rajitha| Out – K Nadeeshan, P Tharanga
Stallions’ openers Avishka Fernando and Johnson Charles managed to put on their team’s highest first wicket partnership of the tournament adding 68 runs. Fernando looked like he was on a mission to play the most lofted drives in an innings but was dismissed playing the stroke when he was on 39.
Charles continued on his merry way, making his first half century of the tournament when his team really needed him to perform as he scored 76 off 56 anchoring the innings for the Stallions. Charles was given a reprieve from Kasun Rajitha on 0, as he dropped a simple catch off Lahiru Kumara’s bowling in the first over in the innings, which turned out to be the costliest drop of LPL 2020.
Apart from those two, no other batsman took the responsibility to take the Stallions to a commendable total as one by one they perished. The batting side was on 1/111 in the 13th over but the Malinda Pushpakumara led Viiking attack came back brilliantly to restrict the opposition to 165. Pushpakumara who started the collapse for Jaffna Stallions picked two wickets in his 4 overs, conceding just 24 runs. Interestingly, there were 4 runouts in the 1st innings, suggesting how panic-stricken the Stallions were during the latter half of their innings.
Pakistani veteran Anwar Ali deserves a special mention for his fielding as the 33-year-old held onto three catches including a spectacular effort to dismiss the dangerous Charles in addition to the wicket of Avishka Fernando.
In the Viiking reply, the batsmen couldn’t keep up with the required rate after a decent powerplay as the Stallions’ bowlers kept chipping away at wickets. Usman Shinwari, who has been impressive with the ball throughout the tournament, couldn’t pick up any wickets but he contributed with his fielding, causing two runouts with direct hits.
However, the star of the show was ‘WoW’indu Hasaranga who bowled another economical spell to add to the 3 wickets he produced courtesy of his deadly googly. Dambulla Viiking were bundled out for 128, confirming the second finalist of the LPL 2020.
Jaffna Stallions will now meet Galle Gladiators in the grand finale of LPL 2020 which will be played on 16th December, from 7pm onwards at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium.
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