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July 4, 2024
Kusal Janith valiant ton, but Avishka 80, Charith 50 take Jaffna Kings to last ball win over Dambulla Sixers

Sri Lanka Cricket

By Srian Obeyesekere

In a typical comeback from the sidelined doldrums, Kusal Janith Perera smote his way to a magical century with a vengeance off 52 balls that was to be consigned into the valiant in defeat in a bat to bat thronging matched by Jaffna Kings Avishka Fernando’s 34-ball 80 and its skipper Charith Asalanka’s 36-ball 50 in another last ball hammer and tong to roaring from the decimation of 3 wickets for 36 when it looked like the Kings were heading for defeat in a typical Lanka Premier League shoot out dramatized in a last ball six plundered by Fabian Allen off Nimesh Vimukthi with one needed for victory at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium.

Indeed, in that run blaze, the last ball drama chilled the extravaganza night cricket in a repeat of the previous day when Jaffna Kings was at the receiving end at the hands of Galle Marvels to reversing fortunes to hitting the winning board.

That Kusal Janith Perera’s century blitzkrieg powered by 5 over the top and 10 across that lit up the day in a characteristic tolling of bat over ball igniting memories of the man who changed a test match on its head in a piece of history making virtual single-handed match winning bravado of once-in-a-lifetime 153 not-out over South Africa to the best innings in 142 years of Test cricket, wasn’t by any means to be impaled in defeat. The popular adage strung by  Paulo Coelho, “Defeat is for the valiant. Only they will know the honor of losing and the joy of winning’ cannot be truer in cricket than in this instance.

Yesterday’s feat that lifted him right up into the reckoning that he’s not out in a justification of the adage, ‘down, but not out’ was clanked by the left-hander taking on the Kings attack in a 108-run second-wicket searing off 63 balls together with Nuwanidu Fernando 40 (35b, 3×4, 1×6) after the early loss of Dhanushka Gunathilaka for 9 to an unfinished 65 for the third-wicket together with Mark Chapman 33 (3×4, 1×6) off 26 balls.

That Avishka Fernando, cast from his usual opening slot was to man the pivotal No.4 in a 34-ball 80 brilliance decorated with a sixer spree of 6 in all and 7 across that to ultimately stealing the show in Player of the Match glory came from the pangs of Jaffna Kings reeling on 3 for 36 after 5.2 overs heightened by 134 off 66 balls in alliance with skipper Charith Asalanka 50 off 36 flogging 4 apiece over and across was sword stuff to making the final difference. When he fell to the last ball of the penultimate over Jaffna Kings was 182 for 6 and needing 10 off the final over to which Fabian Allen 11 off 6 provided the final flourish last ball six with Azmatullah Omarzai n at the other end on 4.


 Dambulla Sixers 191/2 (20 Overs) RR: 9.55

(Kusal Janith Perera n.o. 102, Nuwanidu Fernando 40, Mark Chapman n.o. 33, Dhananjaya de Silva 2/25)

 Jaffna Kings 197/6 (20 Overs) RR: 9.85

(Avishka Fernando 80, Charith Asalanka 50, Pathum Nissanka 27, Azmatullah Omarzai n.o. 4, Fabian Allen n.o. 11, Mustafizur Rahman 2/30, Nuwan Thushara 2/34, Mohammad Naib 1/20)



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