All-rounder Chamika Karunaratne performed the incredible striking smashing the first two deliveries bowled by James Fuller over the top in meeting the challenge of 16 runs off the final over as Kandy Falcons cleared the 148-run target set by Jaffna Kings in the sixth Night game of the Lanka Premier League 2022 at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium Saturday. In what was a grudge encounter between two teams that met on back to back wins in the tournament, the 31-year old Karunaratne emerged like the unknown warrior with the Falcons needing 52 off 35 deliveries following the dismissal of Carlos Braithwaite for 3 with the score 96 for 6 after 14.1 overs. The asking rate escalated to 31 off 12 balls and with it going to the wire into the last over Ashen Bandara retired out with 16 more needed which brought Isuru Udana . In that final showdown Karunaratne rose tall in stature as he dipped into the big hitting reserves he is known for going on to smash Fuller over his head to the stands and followed suit slicing the next delivery over third man for six. The batsmen crossed over for a bye in the third delivery while Usuru Udana took a single off the fourth.Karunaratne smashed the penultimate ball for a single as the game reached its climax when Udana missing the final delivery but rushing for the decisive run in a drama that saw both the wicket-keeper and bowler in turn missing hitting the stumps.
The early credit belonged to Ashen Bandara who held the innings together with a 39-ball 44 after the Falcons had lost their way. Openers Pathum Nissanka and Andre Fletcher made 29 and 11 followed by Kamindu Mendis 19, but the Kings got rid of Falcons skipper Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva for 6, Fabian Allen for a duck and Carlos Braithwaite for 3 in quick strikes.
The Jaffna Kings, taking first lease totalled 147 for 7 off 20 with opening batsman Avishka Fernando top scoring with 31 followed by Shoib Malik 28 and Dunith Wellalage 20. Falcons wicket takers were Fabian Allen 2 for 23, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva 2 for 26 and Isuru Udana 2 for 32. Taking the Player of the Match award was of course Chamika Karunaratne.
CHIEF SCORES: Jaffna Kings 147/7 (20 Overs) (Avishka Fernando 31, Shoaib Malik 28, Rahmanullah Gurbaz 16, Dunith Wellalage 20, Dhananjaya de Silva 10, Thisara Perera n.o. 8, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth n.o. 3, Fabian Allen 2/23, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva 2/26, Isuru Udana 2/32, Zahoor Khan 1/28) Kandy Falcons 148/7 (20 Overs) (Ashen Bandara 44, Pathum Nissanka 29, Chamika Karunaratne n.o. 27, Kamindu Mendis 19, Andre Fletcher 11, Isuru Udana n.o. n.o. 1, Dunith Wellalage 2/17, James Fuller 1/18, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth 1/19, Mahesh Theekshana 1/29)