By Srian Obeyesekere
Kandy Tuskers defeated Jaffna Stallions by 6 wickets chasing down 151 runs with Player of the Match Asela Gunaratne top scoring with a 37-ball 52 hitting 5 boundaries and a six while upfront skipper Kusal Janith Perera overcame a bad patch of poor scores with a timely 42 off 36 containing 4 boundaries in Wednesday’s first D/N match of the Sri Lanka Premier League at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium.
Perera was fourth out with the total 95 for 4 off 13.2 overs having posted 51 with Gunaratne for the fourth wicket. From that point, Kandy Tuskers found no terrors in the Jaffna Stallions bowling attack with Gunaratne and Irfan Pathan, who made 25 off 19 inclusive of 4 boundaries, figuring in a 56-run unbroken alliance for the fifth wicket.
It was the second defeat for the Jaffna Stallions having lost to Colombo Kings as the presence of South African speedster Dale Steyn took its toll making early inroads getting rid of the inform Avishka Fernando caught behind by wicket-keeper Kusal Janith Perera for a second ball duck after the Stallions had taken first lease on the luck of the coin.
Next man in Charith Asalanka made a quick-fire 18 off 10 hitting 2 sixes and a boundary in adding 32 for the second wicket with Johnson Charles before the former was trapped Leg before wicket by Fernando. Charles departed 10 runs later making it 42 for 3 off 4.4 before Shoaib Malik forged a recovery by a 59-run fourth wicket alliance with Minod Bhanuka who made 21 off 22 hitting a solitary boundary. But from there the Stallions collapsed again losing 5 wickets for the addition of 36 runs with their top run getter skipper Thisara Perera dismissed for 1 edging Gunaratne to the wicket-keeper. Malik was eighth out with the total on 132 off 17.5 overs with the Jaffna Stallions dismissed for 150 off 20 overs with the advent of South African speed merchant taking its toll on the batting with Steyn also removing Wanidu Hasaranga for 2, another behind the stumps victim.
Steyn took 2 for 33 and Nuwan Pradeep 3 for 36, Asela Gunaratne 2 for 21 and M.V.T. Fernando 2 for 29.
JAFFNA STALLIONS 150 (20 Overs) RR: 7.5
(Shoaib Malik 59, Minod Bhanuka 21, K.I.C. Asalanka 18, Johnson Charles 17, Usman Shinwari 11,
Nuwan Pradeep 3/36, Asela Gunaratne 2/21, M.V.T. Fernando 2/29, Dale Steyn 2/33)
(Asela Gunaratne n.o. 52, Kusal Janith Perera 42, Irfan Pathan n.o. 25, Brendan Taylor 11, P.W. H. de Silva 2/23)