By Srian Obeyesekere
A 34-ball cameo by Colombo Strikers skipper Niroshan Dickwella could not stop reigning champions Jaffna Kings from winning the inaugural fixture of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) organised Lanka Premier Leage (LPL) by 21 runs at the R. Premadasa International Stadium on Sunday. Discarded lately from all three formats of international cricket, Dickwella came back with a hammer and tong innings showcased by 9 boundaries and a six, but lacked real support upfront as Colombo Strikers having opted to chase were bowled out for 152 in 19.4 overs chasing 174 for victory as he watched his opening partner Pakistan captain Babar Azam fall for 7 bowled by Tissara Perera by a back of length ball attempting to pull, the ball hitting off stump. The next best contribution was by No.7 Chamika Karunaratne 23 off 15 (2×4, 1×6) by which time the asking rate was too much after Dickwella was fourth out with the score 87 after 10.3 overs.
For Jaffna Kings, Hardu Viljoen, former South African fast bowler and brother-in-law to former Protea skipper Faf Du Plessis, who quit after a solitary test appearance to play for Derbyshire, took 3 for 31 while Dilshan Madushanka and Vijayakanth Viyaskanth took 2 wickets each.
Jaffna Kings innings revolved around a 39-ball 54 by No.4 by the 22-year old right-hand Bangladesh all-rounder Towhid Hridoy while No.6 Dunith Wellalage remained unbeaten on 25 off 23 inclusive of 2 boundaries in the wake of upfront Rahmanullah Gurbaz 21 off 11 (1×4, 2×6) and Priyamal Perera 22 off 16 (3×4, 1×6) with skipper Tissera Perera with a rearguard unbeaten 14 off 7 crossing the boundary thrice.
The Player of the Match was Vijayaskanth Viyaskanth for his two wickets plus two catches.
Jaffna Kings 173/5 (20 Overs) RR:8.65
(Towhid Hridoy 54, Dunith Wellalage n.o. 25,, Priyamal Perera 22, Rahmanullah Gurbaz 21, Nishan Madushka 12, Charith Asalanka 12, Thisara Perera n.o. 14 7 3, Naseem Shah 1/30, Matheesha Pathirana 1/32, Lakshan Sandakan 1/34, Chamika Karunaratne 1/36)
Colombo Strikers 152 (19.4 Overs) RR: 7.2
(Niroshan Dickwella 58 34 9 1, Nuwanidu Fernando 17 14 2×6, Yashodha Lanka 11, Ramesh Mendis 17, Chamika Karunaratne 23, Hardus Viljoen 3/31, Dilshan Madushanka 2/18, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth 2/17, Thisara Perera 1/29)