Galle Gladiators snatch victory over table leaders Jaffna Kings by narrow margin of 20 runs
Galle Gladiators’ produced a hard-fought 20-run win against table-toppers Jaffna Kings, in their LPL cricket fixture, at RPS, yesterday. This was the second time Galle Gladiators defeated Jaffna Kings to finish second before the playoffs. Galle Gladiators led by Bhanuka Rajapaksa made a fine fielding display which was the main key to gaining this victory with nine balls to spare.
Jaffna Kings, chasing a target of 130, apart from opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz who scored 21 in 15 balls with three fours and a six; others failed to impress as Galle bowlers and fielders supporting strongly. Two experienced spinners, Samit Patel and Mohammad Hafeez made early breakthroughs to apply more pressure aided with three run-outs as Ashen Bandara, Wahab Riaz, and Vijayakanth Viyaskanth were sent back to the pavilion at the most crucial stage. Galle Galidators restricting Jaffna Kings to 120 in 18.3 overs.
Earlier, Galle Gladiators, opting to bat, made a par score but they couldn’t complete their task and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. They had no decent partnership from the beginning. The opener Danushka Gunathilaka scored 19 in 32 balls hitting asolitary boundary. Skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa tried to enhance their total but managed to get only 23 in 25 balls with a four, Rajapaksa was dismissed by Wahab Riaz during the 15th over.
Jaffna Kings made six changes to their side for this match as their two key spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana rested. However, the bowlers especially their young spinners have helped them restrict Galle Gladiators to a mediocre total of 129 for 8 wickets in 20 overs.
The 20-year-old Vijayakanth Viyaskanth playing his second game, yesterday, finished with 2 for 13 while Praveen Jayawickrama playing his first game bowled only three overs to pick 2 for 13. Pacie Wahab Riaz took 2 for 31 to toil the Galle innings.
Galle Gladiators skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa who scored 23 having taken two catches was named as the Man of the Match.
Galle Gladiators: 129/8 in 20 overs (Dhanushka Gunatilleke 19, Mohammad Hafeez 15, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 23, Sahan Arachchige 14, Pulina Tharanga 14, Wahab Riaz 2/31, Praveen Jayawickrama 2/13, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth 2/21)
Jaffna Kings: 109 all out in 18.3 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 21, Shoaib Malik 23, Ashen Bandara 18, Samit Patel 2/15, Noor Ahmad 2/12)