By Srian Obeyesekere
The Dambulla Vikings stole the show overhauling the Galle Gladiators 168 for 7 in a nerve wracking finish 174 for 4 off 20 with bowler Samiullah Shinwari turning out to be the match winner with the bat slamming an unbeaten 20-ball 46 fine edged by 6 boundaries and 2 sixes including the last ball winning hit in Wednesday’s second D/N match and the 17th of the Sri Lanka Premier League (LPL) at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium.
In a contest that the Dambulla Vikings recovered from 1 for 0 off 0.1 overs and 2 for 23 off 3.3 and 3 for 76 off 10.2, Shinwari, known more for his bowling exploits, rallied the Vikings from 128 for 6 needing 41 to win from 20 balls in an unbroken 46 for the seventh wicket with Ramesh Mendis who made 13 off 7 with a boundary and six. Upfront, Niroshan Dickwella made 38 off 30 with 4 boundaries and a six in rallying his side in a 43-run alliance for the third wicket with Angelo Perera who made 45 off 31 with 4 boundaries .
The Galle Gladiators were on a song run hunt with Dhanushka Gunathilaka leading the way with a 31-ball 46 containing 8 boundaries. He accounted for 28 of the 33 for the first wicket with Ahsan Ali who made 5 for the first wicket off 4.5 overs. The advent of skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa produced 50 runs for the second wicket between Gunathilaka with Rajapaksa reeling off 31 off 18 hitting 3 sixes and 2 boundaries before holing out to his opposite number Dasun Shanaka off Mendis. Gunathilaka was fourth out with the total 90 off 9.3 with No.5 Chadwick Walton retiring on 7, and it was 122 for 5 off 14.3 when Sahan Arachchige fell for 9 to Kasun Rajitha as the Gladiators lost their way. Shehan Jayasuriya struck 39 off 27 with 4 fours and a six and was sixth out with the total on 148 off 17.2 with D. Lakshan chipping in with an unbeaten 18-ball 23 (1×4, 1×6). Ramesh Mendis took 2 for 28, Rajitha 2 for 31 and Shanaka 2 for 38.
GALLE GLADIATORS 168/7 (20 Overs) RR: 8.4
(M.D. Gunathilaka 46, G.S.N.F.G. Jayasuriya 39, P.B.B. Rajapaksa 31, D. Lakshan 23, R.T.M. Mendis 2/28, C.A.K. Rajitha 2/31, M.D. Shanaka 2/38)
DAMBULLA VIKINGS 174/6 (20 Overs) RR: 8.7
(Samiullah Shinwari n.o. 46, A.K. Perera 45, N. Dickwella 38, R.T.M. Mendis n.o. 13, S.R. Patel 11, D. Lakshan 2/33)