Dambulla Viiking entered the Lanka Premier League 2020 with an auspicious win against Kandy Tuskers after their game was stalled by a heavy downpour during the run-chase at the Sooriyawewa stadium in Hambantota yesterday.
Chasing 196 to win, the Tuskers were short by four runs under the Duckworth/Lewis Method, when the game was halted inside the tenth over. The required target at 9.4 overs was calculated at 89, but the Tuskers were 84-3 at the time, as they suffered their second successive defeat in two games.
Dambulla Viiking making their first appearance of LPL posted an impressive total of 195-4, bolstered by a 127-run stand between skipper Dasun Shanaka and Samit Patel, after being put into bat first by the Tuskers.
Viiking openers Niroshan Dickwella and Oshada Fernando made a good start, but their association lasted just 17 deliveries. Fernando was stretchered off the field retired hurt with an ankle sprain while attempting a quick single when the total was on 27.
Upul Tharanga joined Dickwella to add 26 more runs for the first wicket, before Dickwella was dismissed by Asela Gunaratne for 25 at 53. He was caught at point by Afghan Rahmatullah Gurbaz while attempting a reverse sweep, in the 18th delivery faced. Tharanga departed 11 runs later after making a run-a-ball 18, before falling as Gunaratne’s second victim.
The Viiking captain made Tuskers pay dearly for dropped catches when on 4 and 8, as he blazed to a swashbuckling 73 off 37.
Kusal Mendis diving to his left at first slip failed to grasp an edge off Shanaka in the first ball of the 11th over bowled by Nuwan Pradeep resulting in the ball running down to the boundary. A ball later, Shanaka coming down the track, slammed the ball wide of long on but Naveen-ul-Haq, though getting his hand to it could not hold the catch much to the disappointment of Pradeep.
From there on, Shanaka was unstoppable before perishing just three balls left in their innings, taking bowlers to the cleaners with ease in batting friendly conditions. His 37-ball knock contained eight hits to the ropes and four over.
Patel, who departed two deliveries later, caught at covers by Gunaratne, faced 38 deliveries for his enterprising knock of 58, which included five fours and two sixes. Gunaratne and Naveen-ul-Haq both shared the four wickets to fall.
Chasing 196, the Tuskers were forced to play defensive after losing skipper Kusal Janith Perera early. Perera was the top scorer for the Tuskers in the opening game, which ended with a loss to Colombo Kings in a super over thriller, following a high-scoring tie.
But the skipper could not repeat Thursday’s heroics, and fell to Anwar Ali in the second over, caught at deep midwicket by Ramesh Mendis for just 4. Rahmanullah Gurbaz, the other dashing opener to impress in Tuskers’ opening game, too had his wings cut off soon when the total was 50. By then the explosive Gurbaz was looking dangerous at 30 off 18 deliveries, smashing four boundaries and a six. He was totally flummoxed with a flighted ball by spinner Malinda Pushpakumara which hit the off stump.
His dismissal was crucial for the Tuskers, who were not in their expected pace, and was behind the par total, when signs of a downpour showed up.
Under a slight drizzle the game moved on, but the Tuskers failed to reach the required run rate. Adding another blow they lost Kamindu Mendis as the third wicket fell at 74, while in contrast Kusal Mendis was settling down gradually.
Kusal Mendis was unbeaten on 34 off 26 and looked well set to turn the game towards to a different direction when the game was stalled due to rain. Mendis had hit two fours and three sixes when his team’s total was at 84-3.
Dambulla Viiking 195 for 4 (Shanaka 73, Patel 58, Gunaratne 2-20) beat Kandy Tuskers 84 for 3 (Mendis 34, Ali 1-13) by four runs (DLS method)