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December 19, 2021
Four cornered battle for pot of gold intensifies

Sri Lanka Cricket

The momentum upswing in the final climax to the Sri Lanka Premier League 2021 trophy glitter has been hyped in a four- cornered battle for the jackpot that has reached a pitch between table leaders, Jaffna Kings and their closest rivals, Galle Gladiators, and Dambulla Stars and the Colombo Stars come tomorrow’s Sunday showdowns to that pot of gold as the final fling shifts to Hambantota’s Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Sooriyawewa.

In that throw-up, the intensity to who would emerge the ultimate winner has been triggered by the top team, Thisara Perera’s Jaffna Kings having been brought down from their 6-match on the trot winning pedestal by Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s Galle Gladiators yesterday while the last ditch arrival of Angelo Mathews’ Colombo Kings in a now or never canter to the fourth place play off at the expense of Angelo Perera’s Kandy Warriors has lent the fusion to it while the foreign talent also holds strong by the likes of Kennar Lewis who has been in good nick.

That the Galle Gladiators have effectively dented the Jaffna Kings armour by defeating them not once but twice having done so at the start as well has indeed raised a question mark as to whether Thisara Perera’s men could sustain their tip top image but for the two blotches to the same rivals. Therein, while the Jaffna Kings are certainly confronted with having to address that concern if they are to make it big when the two sides meet tomorrow to finding the finalists, it will be the crunch test for Bhanuka Rajapaksa and company for a repeat show that would put the Galle Gladiators a step away from the crown. In that vein, indeed, it will be the centerpiece to a tournament that has seen quite some absorbing fare in that mix of local and foreign talent. While the Gladiators do hold the edge on the clean sheet of having downed their big opponents twice, Jaffna Kings does have the fire power to do it.

Comparatively, player to player both sides do pack some ace trump cards. The Gladiators, in skipper Rajapaksa do possess a match winner given his aggressive potential with the bat while his leadership qualities have been a guiding light. As for the Jaffna Kings, skipper Perera and Shoaib Malik have been outstanding with the bat. Both sides have an equally lethal bowling outfit.

Meanwhile, It has been the arrival to the big spoils from low depths of the Colombo Stars that has lent an intensity to the tournament of a potential side capable of challenging for the crown on some incredible performers. While Seekkuge Prasanna proved to be a magical down the line match winner with his 6-ball 5-sixes match winning knock to getting his side on the winning trail, the Stars do possess the fire power depth. Skipper Mathews opening the batting with Kusal Janith Perera.

Mathews experience could well be the foil to Colombo Stars doing it if he could carry his unquestionable ability to hanging around long enough to producing that big knock that would fire his side while Kusal Janith with his timely 58 that got the side to the last four, is a positive. While Dinesh Chandimal who banged 40 to that thrust adds the zip being the tournament highest scorer, Dhananjaya de Silva as much is a balmy influence underlined by his 40 to that cause yesterday.

The bowling consists of some capable wicket takers in Naveen ul-Haq and much will depend on whether Jeffrey Vandersay could continue the form of his 6-wicket feat that carried them through yesterday when Colombo Stars take on Dambulla Giants in the decider tn the first finalist.

Third placed in the points table Dambulla Giants skippered by Dasun Shanaka will be locked in a decisive showdown with Colombo Stars to make it to the final. They pack the clout to go the extra mile with the likes of Phil Salt who has fronted some positive knocks while the onus will be much on skipper Dasun Shanaka to lead from the front with can big knok.

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