After 23 encounters, it all came down to this final clash between Jaffna Kings and Colombo Stars. A team that won two trophies before and a team that qualified for their first final. Kings who already know how to win titles showed why they won it twice before by coming on top during crunch moments to make it a hat trick of trophies. Chasing 164, Kings had a strong start and a great middle phase although they lost some wickets in the back end, they managed to reach home with two wickets and four deliveries in hand.
Kings skipper Thisara Perera won the toss and decided to chase in this all important final. He then took the responsibility of bowling the first over and struck straightaway removing Nishan Madushka in the fourth delivery. Then the two heroes from the 2nd qualifier, Dinesh Chandimal and Charith Asalanka got together and stitched another brilliant 75 run stand in 53 balls.
Then skipper Perera made a very good bowling change to bring in the economical Dunith Wellalage and he struck right away removing Asalanka for 31. The young left arm spinner bowled in tandem with the other upcoming star spinner Vijaykanth Viyaskanth and they completely dried up the flow of runs to halt the momentum of the Stars.
Chandimal made a classy 49 continuing his fine form but unfortunately fell short of his crease while attempting to get to his half century. Then Ravi Bopara took charge of things for the Stars and managed to take them over the 160 mark to end up with 163 in their 20 overs. Stars scored 45 runs in the final 3 overs thanks to the onslaught by Bopara who made an unbeaten 47.
Chasing 164 to win their 3rd consecutive title, Kings had a cracking start as Rahmanullah Gurbaz went absolutely berserk from ball one. The opening stand was 49 for the Kings with Gurbaz doing bulk of the scoring making 36 off 18 before getting dismissed.
Benny Howell who removed Gurbaz took another wicket in his next over removing Afifa Hossain. But the two in form batters for Kings Fernando and Sadeera Samarawickrama put together a vital stand for the 3rd wicket adding 72 runs in 55 deliveries. At one point it looked quite easy for Kings but Stars made a wonderful comeback taking a cluster of wickets to make the match interesting.
With the end of the 3rd wicket stand, Kings lost 5 wickets for 26 runs still requiring 10 off 7. Suranga Lakmal who provided three of those five wickets bowled an impressive spell of death bowling to take 3 for 23. With 10 needed to win from 7, Binura Fernando who walked out to bat struck a vital boundary to end the penultimate over making the equation 6 from 6.
Captain Perera who was the last recognised batter remaining was on strike for the last over and Kasun Rajitha was given the responsibility to bowl the last over. Perera managed to hit a four bringing Kings ever so close to the target but gave his wicket away in the next ball to make the match much more interesting.
With 2 wickets to go and no frontline batters left for the Kings, Stars had every chance to make a match out of it but unfortunately Rajitha failed to find his target bowling a wide delivery which wicket keeper Madushka couldn’t gather as the batters ran a single to get over the line.
With this thrilling victory, Jaffna Kings have now won all the 3 editions of the Lanka Premier League under the captaincy of Thisara Perera. Avishka Fernando of the Kings ended the tournament with the most runs making 337 in 10 games while Carlos Brathwaite of Kandy Falcons ended the tournament taking the most wickets with 18 scalps in 8 games.
|Nishan Madushka||c Sadeera Samarawickrama b Thisara Perera||1||3||0||0||33.33|
|Dinesh Chandimal||run out (Sadeera Samarawickrama)||49||40||4||1||122.50|
|Charith Asalanka||c Vijayakanth Viyaskanth b Dunith wellalage||31||23||3||1||134.78|
|Ravi Bopara||not out||47||33||1||3||142.42|
|Angelo Mathews||b Mahesh Theekshana||12||11||0||1||109.09|
|Mohammad Nabi||c Sadeera Samarawickrama b Binura Fernando||15||9||0||1||166.67|
|Benny Howell||not out||1||1||0||0||100.00|
|Extras||7 (b 0 , lb 2 , nb 0, w 5, pen 0)|
|Total||163/5 (20 Overs, RR: 8.15)|
|Rahmanullah Gurbaz||c Kasun Rajitha b Benny Howell||36||18||4||2||200.00|
|Avishka Fernando||c Nawod Paranavithana b Suranga Lakmal||50||43||4||1||116.28|
|Afif Hossain||c Angelo Mathews b Benny Howell||3||10||0||0||30.00|
|Sadeera Samarawickrama||c Angelo Mathews b Suranga Lakmal||44||27||6||1||162.96|
|Shoaib Malik||b Suranga Lakmal||10||6||0||1||166.67|
|Dunith wellalage||c & b Mohammad Nabi||2||4||0||0||50.00|
|Thisara Perera||c Dominic Drakes b Kasun Rajitha||6||6||1||0||100.00|
|Mahesh Theekshana||run out (Ravindu Fernando)||1||1||0||0||100.00|
|Binura Fernando||not out||4||1||1||0||400.00|
|Vijayakanth Viyaskanth||not out||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|Extras||8 (b 0 , lb 1 , nb 0, w 7, pen 0)|
|Total||164/8 (19.2 Overs, RR: 8.48)|