The Jaffna Stallions trampled the Galle Gladiators with a 5-wicket victory in the 9th game of Lanka Premier League to keep the down and under in the tourney.
The Gladiators have struggled with the chase in the last two matches so the Skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa opted to bat first after winning the toss.
The Galle Gladiators had 4 changes in their playing XI with Ahsan Ali, Chadwick Walton, Dhanajaya Lakshan and Asitha Fernando replacing Shahid Afridi, Hazratullah Zazai, Milinda Siriwardana and Mohammad Shiraz, while Jaffna played unchanged.
Poor Danushka Gunathilaka
As it has been the norm for Galle Gladiators, Danushka Gunathilaka scored his second consecutive half-century giving them a steady start, which they successfully wasted. Gunathilaka struck the ball with might and confidence on his way to a well-composed 55 runs off 44 deliveries.
By the end of the powerplay, the Galle Gladiators were at 50 for none. They had a 67-run opening stand in 8.3 overs, before Ahsan Ali departed with 29 runs. Those are good numbers in T20 cricket.
Gladiators’ vacuum-like middle-order
Azam Khan, the No. 3 for Galle Gladiators, had a brief stay of 14 balls at the centre, scoring 25 runs. Khan, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Danushka Gunathilaka were undone within a span of 2 overs.
Chadwick Walton looked destructive as the West Indian struck 31 runs off just 13 deliveries including a 104 metre six, but walked back soon after nicking one back to the keeper.
Shehan Jayasuriya looked like a schoolboy with the bat in hand, swinging at everything and not making any connection with the ball.
Jaffna spinners strangled Galle
With the wickets slowing down, Jaffna used an extra spinner in Dhananjaya de Silva in this game. With Wanindu Hasaranga and Shoaib Malik being the other two spinners, the trio gave away only 73 runs in the 11 overs between them, capturing 3 scalps.
Hasaranga was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2 for 29, with even that looking a little distant from being a good performance because of the standards he set in the recent past.
De Silva opened the bowling with Usman Shinwari and did an exceptional job during the powerplay. He also got rid of the opposition Skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa.
Shoaib Malik bowled the 16th, 18th and the 20th over of Gladiators’ innings and did not allow them to break free from the shackles as he kept it under 6 runs an over. Those three overs were really hurtful for Galle.
Avishka Fernando’s love for Galle Gladiators
Fernando struck a stylish 84 runs, opening the innings for Jaffna. He failed in his last two outings after scoring a responsible 92 in the first game against the same opposition. He came back strong and batted well, oozing class. He almost wiped Galle out of the game singlehandedly.
An uncapped star found in Dhananjaya Lakshan
Lakshan, who is originally from Galle, had a decent outing with the bat earlier. When Jayasuriya was struggling to get bat on ball, Lakshan struck Shinwari over mid-off with a straight bat for four. His young legs were half way through the second run when the pro on the other end had just finished one.
However if someone failed to notice him for those, he made sure they did with his exceptional spell with the ball. He bowled a back-arm slow ball for his first delivery of the tournament and delivered an out-of-the-world 18th over, almost pulling the game back for Galle.
He picked up the well-set Avishka Fernando after missing out on two chances on the same over, one of which even went for a boundary, thanks to the sloppy fielding from Jayasuriya.
Lakshan also grabbed a stunning catch at extra cover in the last over to dismiss Shoaib Malik.
Icing on the cake by Wanindu
Following that brilliant 18th over by Lakshan in which he dismissed Fernando on the last ball, Wanindu walked in for the 19th over. Amir bowled the penultimate over, off which Wanindu smashed 16 runs and clean swept all the hopes Galle had.
Jaffna recorded a comfortable win to remain unbeaten at the top.
|Danushka Gunathilaka||c Duanne Olivier b Wanindu Hasaranga||56||44||7||0||127.27|
|Ahsan Ali||c & b Wanindu Hasaranga||29||25||4||0||116.00|
|Azam Khan||c Wanindu Hasaranga b Suranga Lakmal||25||14||2||2||178.57|
|Bhanuka Rajapakse||c Thisara Perera b Dhananjaya de Silva||1||2||0||0||50.00|
|Chadwick Walton||c Tom Moores b Usman Shinwari||31||14||1||3||221.43|
|Shehan Jayasuriya||run out (Avishka Fernando)||8||13||0||0||61.54|
|Dhananjaya Lakshan||not out||14||10||2||0||140.00|
|Extras||6 (b 0 , lb 1 , nb 2, w 3, pen 0)|
|Total||170/6 (20 Overs, RR: 8.5)|
|Did not bat||Asitha Fernando, Mohammad Amir, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan,|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||4||0||27||1||6.75|
|Tom Moores||b Shehan Jayasuriya||11||12||1||1||91.67|
|Avishka Fernando||c Shehan Jayasuriya b Dhananjaya Lakshan||84||59||7||5||142.37|
|Minod Bhanuka||c Dhananjaya Lakshan b Asitha Fernando||40||26||4||1||153.85|
|Thisara Perera||c Lakshan Sandakan b Asitha Fernando||9||9||1||0||100.00|
|Shoaib Malik||c Dhananjaya Lakshan b Akila Dananjaya||1||3||0||0||33.33|
|Wanindu Hasaranga||not out||17||7||4||0||242.86|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||not out||5||2||1||0||250.00|
|Extras||7 (b 0 , lb 1 , nb 0, w 6, pen 0)|
|Total||174/5 (19.4 Overs, RR: 8.85)|
|Did not bat||Chathuranga de Sliva, Usman Shinwari, Duanne Olivier, Suranga Lakmal,|