If Jaffna Stallions 53-run championship title triumph over Galle Gladiators in the much hyped up Lanka Premier League final was the culminating hurrah ecstasy to Thisara Perera’s charges showcased by Player of the Match Shoaib Malik’s all-round performance, that the Gladiators sinking was sparked by the eighth ball run out of the inform Dhanushka Gunathilaka by the misadventure of colliding with the bowler Suranga Lakmal, was indeed the element of the agony that was a costly blow to the Gladiators title hopes in Wednesday’s Day-Night decider at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium at Sooriyawewa, Hambantota. To be run out in crunch game’s borders on the unpardonable , that Gunathilaka’s undoing was the result of such a collision between the batsman and bowler was unfortunate. While their prize run getter’s bizarre undoing virtually put paid to the Galle Gladiators championship hopes to getting past the Jaffna Stallions 188 for 6 off 20 overs, seeing the back of Gunathilaka literally put the icing on the cake from that stage for Thisra Perera’s charges. Try as he did the Gladiators skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa to pull his side from the precipitation of 3 for 7 by the fourth delivery of the second over blasting 40 off 17 in a 4-sixes flurry and 3 boundaries, even though momentarily evening the balance, his undoing to a Shoaib Malik delivery at 62 for 4 off 8.2 overs saw the required run rate further balloon with Azam Khan’s 17-ball 36 with 4 sixes and a boundary, the final line of resistance.
Indeed, the Jaffna Stallions swift denting spade work upfront was the perfect cushion to maximising their defense of the huge total by a highly skilled varied bowling juggernaut best amplified by Shoaib Malik proving to be the deliverer. The Pakistan’s 2 for 13, the perfect fusion to his 35-ball 46 top score (3×4, 1×6), with the attack well supplemented by tournament bogey man with the ball Wanidu Hasaranga’s 2 for 12 and Usman Shinwari’s 2 for 20.
The Jaffna Stallions in depth batting display in maximising to good effect from winning the toss as the Galle Gladiators 5-pronged bowling attack wilted with the top order in a run flurry Avishka Fernando 27 off 23 (2×6, 1×4) Johnson Charles 26 off 15 (6×4), Malik’s 46 with Dhananjaya de Silva 33 off 20 (2×6, 2×4) fuelled by a captain’s unbeaten 39 blitz off just 14 (5×4, 2×6) by Thisara Perera. At 139 for 4 off 15.5 at the fall of Dhananjaya’s wicket, it was the perfect cushioning for Perera to do the rest having added 20 off the next 13 deliveries with Malik. Dhananjaya Lakshan took 3 for 36 for the Stallions.
Wanidu Hasaranga was declared Player of the Series.
JAFFNA STALLIONS 188/6 (20 Overs) RR: 9.40
(Shoaib Malik 46, Thisara Perera n.o. 39, Dhananjaya de Silva 33, Avishka Fernando 27,Johnson Charles 26, Dhananjaya Lakshan 3/36, Mohammad Amir 1/36, Sahan Arachchige 1/36, Lakshan Sandakan 1/41)
GALLE GLADIATORS 135/9 (20 Overs) RR: 6.75
(Bhanuka Rajapaksa 40, Azam Khan 36, Sahan Arachchige 17, Shehan Jayasuriya 17, Lakshan Sandakan n.o. 9, Nuwan Thushara n.o. 0, Shoaib Malik 2/13, Usman Shinwari 2/20, Wanidu Hasaranga 1/18, Suranga Lakmal 1/12, Dhananjaya de Silva 1/31)