2023 LANKA PREMIER LEAGUE FINAL
By Srian Obeyesekere
The countdown to the finals of the 2023 Lanka Premier League between Dambulla Aura and B Love Kandy does hold out to be a facing off of the clash of the titans given the tournament run up that has galvanized into a momentum build up in the wake of the two sides finally arriving in a gallop the stronger in the grabs for the final high stakes trophy glitter to go with prize money of in today’s day-night at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.
While Kusal Mendis led Dambulla does bask in a high of dominated the tournament by virtue of the most number of wins to topping the points table and having defeated Kandy when they met previously by a 20run margin, it is Kandy’s progress in rising from the dumps of two straight defeats in the starters to coming through to raising their hands as fitting finalists for the crown driven by the extraordinary all-round wizardry of its skipper Wanindu Hasaranga that has hyped this final into a much looked to contest. Indeed, it is the virtual Hasaranga one-man showmanship that has highlighted Kandy’s ascendancy spectator hype in this local-foreign player as much as fanfare mix in that adrenaline pumping momentum. The therein backdrop has not only galvanized feverishly cricket crazy fans of both camps but an entire nation gripped by the cricket in its high flying action generating short format fad that has come to envelope night cricket in soul sating bliss.
In the final assessment, while Dambulla Aura boasts of the all-round depth that has put them in that strong insulation, the Hasaranga all-round bat-ball influence combined by the input of young Pakistani opening batsman Mohammad Haris for the worth of his bat and the Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal depth in experience as witnessed in yesterday’s decisive game that carried them through to the finals, does fire the imagination. The playmaker influence of Dambulla skipper Kusal Mendis and particularly Kusal Janith Perera who infused the dash that has made him an explosive batsman at any level of cricket reminiscent of his great match and historic test series winning unbeaten ton against South Africa in their own backyard batting with last man Rangana Herath does certainly raise his stocks as a game changer. The batting further runs strong in upfront in form Avishka Fernando, all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva whose 4 for 6 in Kandy’s defeat two days ago is a Dambulla strongpoint while the foreign influence of Australian Hayden Kerr and Alex Ross does sound potential top stuff.
In the bowling both sides possess the stuff fit for a final.
Matthew Wade, Kusal Mendis, Lungi Ngidi, Avishka Fernando, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera, Hayden Kerr, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Binura Fernando, Noor Ahmad, Sachitha Jayathilake, Janith Liyanage, Dushan Hemantha, Pramod Madushan, Treveen Mathew, Shahnawaz Dahani, Lakshan Edirisinghe, Jehan Daniel, Wanuja Sahan, Kavidu Pathirana, Ravindu Fernando, Alex Ross, Manelker de Silva, Praveen Jayawickrama
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Wanidu Hasaranga, Fakhar Zaman, Angelo Mathews, Isuru Udana, Dinesh Chandimal, Mohammad Hasnain, Dushmantha Chameera, Sahan Arachchige, Ashen Bandara, Mohammad Haris, Navod Paranavithana, Asif Ali, Kamindu Mendis, Nuwan Pradeep, Chaturanga de Silva, Lahiru Madushanka, Aamer Jamal, Malsha Tharupathi, Thanuka Dabare, Lasith Abeyratne, Avishka Tharindu