By Srian Obeyesekere
West Indian, Andre Russel took the Lanka Premier League by storm bludgeoning an ‘out of this world’ 65 off only 19 deliveries with 60 of it coming in the thunder of 4 sixes and 9 boundaries in a rain reduced 5-Over match powering Colombo Kings to a 34-run win over Galle Gladiators at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Sooriyawewa, Hambantota on Saturday.
The Day/Night, the second match on the third day and fourth of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) organised historic LPL that took off after a long delay, saw Russel, the seasoned 20-20 campaigner, playing a virtual single handed role in a run making fiesta in fashioning Colombo Kings second successive win to top the points table with 4 points. The 32-year old right hander’s dominance was such that the 31 runs for the first wicket all came from his bat with his opening partner Thikshila de Silva finally exiting for a duck. He was joined by Evans in a 65-run unbroken second wicket alliance off 3.5 overs.
Galle Gladiators could not match their opponents run making frequency despite openers Dhanushka Gunathilaka and Hazratullah Zazai adding 37 off 2.6 overs when the Zazai fell to Ashan Priyanjan for 6. The advent of skipper Shahid Afridi saw the big hitter make 12 off 6 with 3 boundaries exiting by a catch to Priyanjan off Oais Ahmad with the total 52 off 4.3 overs and the contest good as over with the Gladiators facing the improbable task of scoring a further 44 off the remaining three deliveries. Next in Azam Khan clouted 10 off the 3 balls spiced with a six and boundary in that lost cause, but overall leaving cricket the winner in the cascading action that drummed up the fare to cricket lovers in Sri Lanka and the rest of the world. Gunathilaka top scored for the Gladiators with 30 off 15 hitting 2 sixes and 2 boundaries.
Andre Russel was Player of the Match by a long distance. It was indeed an Andre Russel special show.
COLOMBO KINGS 96/1 (05 Overs) RR: 19.2
(A.D.Russel n.o. 65, L.J. Evans n.o. 21, A.M. Fernando 1/26)
Fall of wickets: 1-31 (Thikshila de Silva, 1.1 ov)
Did not bat: L.D. Chandimal, A.D. Mathews, S.M.A. Priyanjan, I. Udana, Qais Ahmad, D.J. Bell-Drummond, P.V.D. Chameera, M.A. Aponso.
GALLE GLADIATORS 62/2 (05 Overs) RR: 12.4(M.D. Gunathilaka n.o. 30, Shahid Afridi 12, Azam Khan n.o. 10, S.M.A. Priyanjan 1/1, Qais Ahmad 1/11)Fall of wickets: 1-37 (Hazratullah Zazai, 2.6 ov), 2-52 (Shahid Afridi, 4.3 ov)
Did not bat: P.B.B. Rajapaksa, T.A.M. Siriwardana, G.S.N.F.G. Jayasuriya, Mohammad Amir, D. Lakshan, M. Shiraz, A.M. Fernando.