By Srian Obeyesekere
Galle Glkadiators at long last got their winning act together in handing out Colombo Kings a gladiator style 8-wicket defeat from a hitherto poor tournament showing, in an all-round display powered by the Pakistani influence of Player of the Match Mohammad Amir (5 for 26), top scorer Ahsan Ali 56 off 38 (5×4), Azam Khan n.o. 35 off just 16 (9×4, 1×6) and the skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa (6 happily making his worth count with a power packed unbeaten 37 off 24 (6×4, 1×6) coming to the party in a chasing down performance fire powered by the consistent Dhanushka Gunathilaka (5×4) upfront, at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Sooriyawewa, Hambantota on Monday.
After Colombo Kings had made 171 off 20 overs at a run rate of 8.55, with Mohammad Amir bowling a brilliant 4-over spell for figures of 5 for 26, well supported by Lakshan Sandakan 3 for 38, the Galle Gladiators swept to 175 for 2 with 15 balls to spare on a 97-run first wicket spurt off 10.3 overs by the Gunathilaka-Ahsan Ali heroics in what was a deserving pay off to the Sri Lankan star opening batsman in reaching the long eluding victory post in his fourth consecutive run harvest following the previous valiant failed attempts.
It was a worthy fast and furious contest of its kind with Colombo Kings posting a sizable total with Bell Drummond top scoring with 44 off 36 (3×4, 1×6) and the in form Dinesh Chandimal 35 off 20 (4×4, 2×6) the main run getters. But the Kings were pegged down by the tight bowling of Amir and were bogged down losing 4 wickets for 88 runs in 10.5 overs before recovering to 6 for 144 by the 17th over through contributions from Thishila de Silva 27 off 17 (1×4, 2×6) and Isuru Udana 21 off 10 (1×4, 2×6).
Colombo Kings 171 (20 Overs) RR: 8.55
(D.J. Bell Drummond 44, L.D. Chandimal 35, S.T. de Silva 27, I. Udana 21, A.D. Mathews 11, A.D. Russel 11, M. Amir 5/26, P.A.D.L.R. Sandakan 3/33)
Galle Gladiators 175/2 (17.3 Overs) RR: 10.0
(Ahsan Ali 56, M.D. Gunathilaka 38, P.B.B. Rajapaksa 37, Azam Khan n.o. 35)