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Gunaratne pushes Kandy into semifinal contention

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Asela Gunaratne
SLC Media Unit

Kandy Tuskers recorded a nervy win against the table-toppers, Jaffna Stallions in the 16th match of Lanka Premier League 2020.

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The toss went in favour of Jaffna Stallions and the skipper Thisara Perera opted to bat first stating “it’s a dry-looking pitch and it’s safer to get runs on board.”

The Stallions fielded the same XI who played their previous game while the Kandy Tuskers had the luxury of playing Dale Steyn, who had ended his quarantine period. They also played Seekkuge Prasanna in place of Lasith Embuldeniya.

Jaffna’s struggle at the top continues…

It was yet another failed outing for Avishka Fernando as the bowling sensation from South Africa, Dale Steyn, found his edge in just the second bowl of the game. 

Charith Asalanka who came in next, got off to a blazing start as he got off the mark by smacking Steyn over square-leg for a six. He managed another one-off Vishwa Fernando before being taken out by an LBW on the very next ball. 

The opener, Johnson Charles looked like a dangerous player but hailed one straight to the fielder off Nuwan Pradeep. 

Stallions were at 50 for 3 at the end of the powerplay.

Read : Naveen-ul-Haq බොරුකාරයෙක්; Amirගෙන් පිළිතුරක්

Experienced Shoaib Malik pulled the game back

With over 10000 T20 runs to his name, Malik knew exactly how to construct this innings. He knew around 160 runs would be par on that surface of the game, as such he didn’t try anything fancy as he struck a cool and calm 59 off 44 deliveries. 

He was well complemented by Minod Bhanuka but they fell an inch or two short as the situation started to crumble again after Bhanuka hit a full toss straight to the hands of the long-on. 

There was nothing much left to do to salvage the game as they went down for 150 runs. 

The game was swinging either way

Kandy Tuskers got off to an aggressive start but couldn’t carry it through as Rahmanullah Gurbaz departed in the second over of the innings. 

He was followed by Kusal Mendis and Brendan Taylor who also walked back early after getting off to good starts. By the end of the powerplay, the Tuskers were at 44 for 3. 

But from there on the Jaffna bowlers weren’t consistent in their line and length as they saw the game slip away from them slowly. 

Jaffna’s bounce back

In the 14th over, when Jaffna badly needed a wicket, the skipper brought on his go-to man, Wanindu Hasaranga, who got rid of the set batsman Kusal Perera. 

Wanindu who is having a great tournament brought Jaffna back into the game sending it down to the wire. 

Asela for the win

The veteran Asela Gunaratne showed that the finisher in him is still alive as the right-hander ground 52 runs under tremendous pressure, in hopes to see his team home. 

He also picked up 2 wickets for 21 runs earlier in the game which helped Kandy restrict the high-riding Stallions for just 150 runs. 

The Indian pro, Irfan Pathan gave a helping hand to Gunaratne as the pair made the latter end of the chase look easy. 

Kandy Tuskers are now at the 4th position in the table after this win and they have a good chance to make it to the semi-finals. 

Result
Kandy Tuskers
151/4 (19.1)
Jaffna Stallions
150/10 (20)
Batsmen R B 4s 6s SR
Avishka Fernando c Kusal Janith b Dale Steyn 0 2 0 0 0.00
Johnson Charles c Dale Steyn b Nuwan Pradeep 17 13 4 0 130.77
Charith Asalanka lbw b Vishwa Fernando 18 10 1 2 180.00
Shoaib Malik c Rahmanullah Gurbaz b Nuwan Pradeep 59 44 5 1 134.09
Minod Bhanuka c Kusal Mendis b Asela Gunarathne 21 22 1 0 95.45
Thisara Perera c Dilruwan Perera b Asela Gunarathne 1 2 0 0 50.00
Wanindu Hasaranga c Kusal Janith b Dale Steyn 2 3 0 0 66.67
Suranga Lakmal run out () 5 3 1 0 166.67
Usman Shinwari c Nuwan Pradeep b Vishwa Fernando 11 10 2 0 110.00
Vijayakanth Viyaskanth b Nuwan Pradeep 8 7 1 0 114.29
Duanne Olivier not out 4 4 0 0 100.00
Extras 4 (b 0 , lb 1 , nb 0, w 3, pen 0)
Total 150/10 (20 Overs, RR: 7.5)
Bowling O M R W Econ
Dale Steyn 4 0 33 2 8.25
Vishwa Fernando 4 0 29 2 7.25
Nuwan Pradeep 4 0 36 3 9.00
Asela Gunarathne 4 0 21 2 5.25
Dilruwan Perera 3 0 21 0 7.00
Seekkuge Prasanna 1 0 9 0 9.00

Batsmen R B 4s 6s SR
Rahmanullah Gurbaz c Shoaib Malik b Suranga Lakmal 8 8 2 0 100.00
Kusal Janith c Johnson Charles b Wanindu Hasaranga 42 36 4 0 116.67
Kusal Mendis c Wanindu Hasaranga b Duanne Olivier 2 8 0 0 25.00
Brendon Taylor st Johnson Charles b Wanindu Hasaranga 11 7 1 1 157.14
Asela Gunarathne not out 52 37 5 1 140.54
Irfan Pathan not out 25 19 4 0 131.58
Extras 11 (b 0 , lb 3 , nb 0, w 8, pen 0)
Total 151/4 (19.1 Overs, RR: 7.88)
Did not bat Dilruwan Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Vishwa Fernando, Nuwan Pradeep, Dale Steyn,
Bowling O M R W Econ
Usman Shinwari 4 0 35 0 8.75
Suranga Lakmal 2 0 18 1 9.00
Duanne Olivier 3.1 0 24 1 7.74
Wanindu Hasaranga 4 0 23 2 5.75
Thisara Perera 3 0 20 0 6.67
Vijayakanth Viyaskanth 2 0 18 0 9.00
Shoaib Malik 1 0 10 0 10.00

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