By Srian Obeyesekere
Englishman 23-year old Laurie Evans turned the Colombo Kings versus Jaffna Stallions into virtually his party slamming the first century of the Lanka Premier League a 65-ball unbeaten 108 raining down 5 sixes and 9 boundaries in propelling Colombo Kings to a dramatic 6-run win over Jaffna Stallions in the 18th D/N match of the historic tournament at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium on Thursday. Colombo Kings made 173 for 4 off 20 overs and held their nerve to stop the Jaffna Stallions valiant run charge ending on 167 for 6 off 20 with the seventh wicket pair of Wanidu Hasaranga and Suranga Lakmal combining in an unbroken 42-run alliance off 24 balls in taking the Stallions to within striking distance. It was the Stallions second successive defeat in two days.
In an ideally tournament hot up , Evans, who represents Surrey in English County cricket, set the tempo in an absolute brutish willow work showmanship in that commanding run riot that ground the Jaffna Stallions bowling attack to the dust. That they had got into the firing line by opting to field after winning the toss was downsizing. As it was, Evans partying with the bat was such that while Evans smote his way to the breathtaking three figure mark in creating a piece of LPL history as the first batsman to anoint himself in that singular honour, it dwarfed the rest of the contributions. This was best illustrated by the next highest score being 21 by Andre Russel as Laurie Evans wove a literal magical fireworks act as the day belonged to him. The Player of the Match was the illuminating reward to his masterpiece on a day that ballooned into an enthralling drama as the Jaffna Stallions did make a fight of it taking the contest to the wire. But there were no big guns that emerged with the highest score being 32 off 27 by No. 3 Charith Asalanka with just the 4 boundaries while next highest was Shoaib Malik’s 29 off 28 (2×4), Tom Moores 23 off 21 upfront (3×4, 1×6)and Thisara Perera 22 in a 9-ball middle order charge, but the successive wickets of the skipper and Shoaib Malik with the total on 125 by the penultimate and last delivery of the 15th over was thwarting to their cause.
COLOMBO KINGS 173/4 RR: 8.65
(L.J. Evans n.o. 108, A.D. Russel 21, A.D. Mathews 15, D.J. Bell Drummond 12, L.D. Chandimal 11, R.A.S. Lakmal 1/26, P.W.H. de Silva 1/31)
JAFFNA STALLIONS 167/6 (20 Overs) RR: 8.35
(K.I.C. Asalanka 32, Shoaib Malik 29, T.J. Moores 23, P.W.H. de Silva n.o. 23, N.L.T.C. Perera 22, R.A.S. Lakmal n.o. 17,, Qais Ahmad 1/15, P.H.T. Kaushal 1/18, I. Udana 1/20, P.V.D. Chameera 1/26)