By Srian Obeyesekere
Dambulla Viikings swept to their second successive win in three days defeating Galle Gladiators by 9 runs in a high intensity tussle of the 12th match of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) Day/Night at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Sooriyawewa, Hambantota on Saturday. Batting first, the Vikings wrested the initiative with its frontline top three batsmen firing on all cylinders – Upul Tharanga 77 off 54 (11×4, 1×6), Niroshan Dickwella 60 0ff 37 (5×4, 3×6) and skipper Dasun Shanaka 37 off 21 (2×4, 3×6). The Tharanga-Dickwella 110-run alliance off 12.4 overs was the thriving cornerstone to Tharanga and Shanaka slamming 69 off the next 28 deliveries to finishing on 207 for 4.
That Galle Gladiators Danushka Gunathilaka set a challenging tempo all the way down to the wire with a 52-ball 78 buttressed by 10 boundaries and a six was the lending fascination to a galloping finish. The opener was seventh out having taken his side within striking distance of 190 for 6 off 18.5 overs, but the gettable 18 off the next 7 deliveries was not to be with Milinda Siriwardena remaining unbeaten on 13 off 9 with a six and a boundary with the final total 198 for 7. It meant Gunathilaka, with his third consecutive half century in bouts of batsman ship that has dramatized the inaugural LPL, was destined to play the lone warrior role yet again, bar the third wicket lending weight from Azam Khan in lifting the side from a shaky 47 for 2 after 5.1 overs to 141 for 3 after 13.1 overs.
Anwar Ali’s 3 for 37 earned him the Player of the Match award.
DAMBULLA VIKINGS 207/4 (20 Overs) RR: 10.35
(W.U. Tharanga 77, N. Dickwella 60, M.D. Shanaka 37 S. Shinwari n.o. 9, A.K. Perera n.o. 9, D. Lakshan 2/39)
GALLE GLADIATORS 198/7 (20 Overs) RR: 9.9
(M.D. Gunathilaka 78, Azam Khan 55, Ahsan Ali 19, C.A.K. Walton 15,
T.A.M. Siriwardena n.o. 13, Mohammad Amir n.o. 1, Anwar Ali 3/37)