By Srian Obeyesekere
Dinesh Chandimal proved to be the King under lights in an unbeaten 51-ball 68 of measured aggression in Colombo Kings rising from the dumps of successive defeats to stopping the unbeaten giant killing run of the Jaffna Stallions by a long distance of 6 wickets in the Day-Night, the 11th
encounter of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium at Sooriyawewa, Hambantota. Requiring 66 off 44 in the final equation chasing a victory target of 149, Chandimal stood strong to the end figuring in productive partnerships of 40 for the third wicket with skipper Angelo Mathews and 42 for the fourth wicket with Andre Russel in that play out.
A player thrown to the wilderness by his discarding from the last cricket world cup, the 30-year old Chandimal, who in recent months has displayed a vast transformation in his batting, did underline in no uncertain terms that he was back in the big run making business plundering 7 boundaries and 2 sixes in that victory thrust. It was his second Player of the Match award following his 80 in Colombo Kings defeating Kandy Tuskers in the tournament opener. That he had gone the distance from start to finish upfront having parried with everything the Jaffna Stallions bowlers threw at him illustrated to good effect the ice cool batter he has become in his comeback trail with a vengeance of calling the shots. Having put on 28 for the first wicket with Laurie Evans (14 off 10, 1×4, 1×6) and contributed all of the 20 for the second wicket with Bell Drummond who went for a 3-ball duck, at 48 for 2 off 5.4 overs, Chandimal figured in the most decisive match redeeming partnership with Mathews who struck a quick-fire 22 off 24 clouting 2 boundaries and a six, his last scoring shot that reduced the deficit from 66 off 44 to 60 off 43 when he holed out to Shoaib Malik off Viyaskanth. For a star batsman, eager to put behind him a patchy run in the tournament, it was a praiseworthy effort trying to force the pace given the quick run making urgency – 88 for 3 after 11.5. Enter Andre Russel, the pinch hitter with the 65 off 19 tournament record in the win over Galle Gladiators, who did play a waiting game the early deliveries before his trade mark shot making, 32 off 20 accentuated with 3 over the ropes and 2 boundaries.
Indeed, it was a much needed win for Colombo Kings who did well to reduce the strong Jaffna Stallions to 148 for 9 in the 20 overs with all six bowlers among the wickets, the pick being Qais Ahamad 3 for 24 including the wicket of Avishka Fernando for 26, followed by Dushmantha Chameera 2 for 27 with Mathews, Udana, Kaushal and Russel 1 each. How well they did it was manifested by the Stallions top order being well muffled with the score reading 87 for 7 off 12.4 overs before with No.7 Wanidu Hasaranga cutting free with 41 off 23 with 7 boundaries and a six to rallying the side to 148 for 9.
JAFFNA STALLIONS 148/9 (20 Overs) RR: 7.4
(P.W.H.de Silva 41, W.I.A. Fernando 26, M. Bhanuka 21, N.L.T.C. Perera 18, B. Fernando 11, Qais Ahamad 3/24, P.V.D. Chameera 2/27)
COLOMBO KINGS 151/4 (19.2 Overs) RR: 7.81
(L.D. Chandimal n.o. 68, A.D. Russel 32, A.D. Mathews 22, L.J. Evans 14, S.T. de Silva n.o. 10, P.W. H. de Silva 2/23)