Well there you have it!
After two and a half weeks we have our finalists.
it will be Galle Gladiators locking horns with Jaffna Stallions commencing at 7 pm on Wednesday in the Grand Final of this inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League.
See you then for what will surely be a cracker.
Johnson Charles is the Man of the Match for his 76 off 56 balls with 10 fours and 1 six.
Dasun Shanaka reckons that 166 was chaseable on this wicket but that the two Usman Shinwari-induced run-outs in particular cost them.
Stallions skipper Thisara Perera says he is happy with how his teammates went about things today. He reserves particular praise for how his bowlers handled the wet ball in the evening especially Hasaranga who came in after the 10th over and ran circles around the Dambulla Viiking batting.
Hasaranga now has 16 wickets at an average of 10.8 runs per wicket and an economy rate of 5.2 for the tournament.
Fabulous bowling and fielding performance by Jaffna Stallions. 166 would have been a tricky target to defend but they have come up trumps quite comfortably in the end.
Dambulla looked in the game while Niroshan Dickwella (29) was stitching a partnership with Upul Tharanaga but following Dickwella's dismissal to Asalanka, the Viiking failed to recover as Tharanga struggled to find his timing and the rest of the batsmen perished at regular intervals.
As usual, Wanindu Hasaranga was the hero with the ball, proving almost unplayable in his four over spell that broke the back of the Dambulla Viiking chase. The leading wicket-taker of the tournament took 3 for 15 including a maiden in his 4 overs.
Earlier Jaffna reached 165 on the back of 76 from Johnson Charles and 39 from Avishka Fernando. Dambulla pegged things back expertly in the middle phase to ensure that Jaffna did not reach the kind of total they were threatening to but in the end, 165 proved more than sufficient for Jaffna Stallions.
Jaffna Stallions are through to the Final!
It's a 37-run win for Jaffna Stallions as Kasun Rajitha is cleaned up trying to slog Chathuranga De Silva out of the park.
3 runs off the Lakmal over.
Final rights being performed right now
Dambulla 128/9 with one over left [Target 166]
Dambulla need 42 off 12 balls to win with 1 wicket left.
Just 1 more wicket for Jaffna to join Galle Gladiators in the final.
Lakmal comes back. Can he finish it off?
But legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga had another excellent game with the ball, taking 2 for 15 in his four overs
The Dambulla Viiking started the chase well, with Niroshan Dickwella at the crease
It's yet another direct hit by Shinwari. He's having a ball of a time in the field today. It's not out on this occaison but my word, has he been accurate with his throws today.
R Mendis c Shinwari b Olivier 26(10)
Ramesh Mendis gives it a go. He nails two fours and a six off Olivier but he gets a fuller ball this time skies a catch to Shinwari, and wicket number 9 goes down. Jaffna Stallions are one wicket away from the grand final
It's the 16th over of the chase and not a run is scored.
Hasaranga finishes with 3 for 15 off four overs. Thisara Perera's decision to hold him back for the right-handers has worked perfectly.
Yet another one for Hasranga!
M Pushpakumara c T Perera b Hasaranga 1(2).
The right hander attempts to cut but it turns into him and takes the edge to first slip where Thisara Perera takes a smart catch.
Hasaranga has been exceptional today. 3 for 15 he has with 5 balls left in his spell.
Ramesh Mendis is a perfectly capable batsman and he gets two boundaries off Olivier but the asking rate seems rather beyond him without anyone to provide support.
Dambulla Viiking 108/7 in 16 overs [Target 166]
R Mendis 11(6), Pushpakumara 1(1)
58 runs needed off 24 balls for a spot in the grand final.
Malinda Pushpakumara was the pick of the Dambulla Viiking bowlers with 2 for 24 in his four overs
Wanindu Hasaranga can do no wrong with the ball.
U Tharanga c Charles b Hasaranga 33(39)
Tharanga's tortured stay at the crease comes to an end. He never looked comfortable during his stay and this time he tries to give himself room and go over the off-side. He gets an outside edge that Charles manages to hold on to. Wanindu Hasaranga takes his 15th wicket of the competition.
Dambulla need 70 off 30 balls with thee wickets in hand
We have a near action replay!
For the second time the ball goes to Shinwari at short-third. It's another clean pick up, another direct hit and yes, another run-out. The sixth run-out we've seen today and Jaffna Stallions are closing in.
A Ali run-out Shinwari 5(9)
But Johnson Charles continued and top scored for the Stallions with 76 off 56 balls
Here comes Hasaranga. They can't afford to be cautious against him for much longer.
Before he was caught in the deep off the bowling of Anwar Ali
Dambulla Viiking need 76 from 36 balls.
Tharanga feels he has to try something different and he tries to go hard; managing two boundaries off the over. It goes for nine runs but the required rate is now above 12.5.
Shinwari did well to recover with three dot balls after those two early fours.
The umpires call the final strategic time-out for this semi-final.
Here are some highlights from the match so far
Avishka Fernando gave the Jaffna Stallions an excellent start with
Usman Shinwari replaces Olivier.
85 needed off 42 balls. The asking rate is on its way up. Hasaranga delivers another quality over to Ali and Tharanga.
Olivier follows it up with four-run over.
Anwar Ali has joined Tharanga who has been extremely scratchy today. Olivier has been going at his body and he hasn't been able to manufacture anything.
Dambulla Viiking 77 for 5 in 12 overs. [Target 166]
Tharanga 20(28), A Ali 1(3).
Hasaranga has three overs left. Huge uphill task for Dambulla from here on.
Hasaranga weaves his magic once more!
S Shinwari lbw Hasranga 4(4)
He beats Shinwari with the googly and he's caught right in front. He wants a review but Dickwella used it up a few overs back and he has to walk.
Direct hit and gone!
D Shanaka run-out U Shinwari 5(6)
It's the big wicket of Shanaka and Jaffna Stallions are cock-a-hoop. Tharanga charges Hasaranga but the ball takes the edge to short third-man. Shinwari gets a good bounce, collects, and throws down the stumps as the batsmen try to sneak a quick single.
This is a huge wicket in the context of this semi-final.
Oliver goes for his favored short ball. He almost gets Shanaka top-edging to Hasaranga at deep square-leg but its inches short of the fielder's desperate attempt.
Dambulla Viiking 68/3 in 10 overs.
Tharanga is in a bit of a hole at the moment. With 98 needed off the last 10 overs he will need to find his touch fast.
Here comes Wanindu Hasaranga.
Stallions captain Thisara Perera opts to bring in Duanne Olivier.
Dambulla Viiking need 101 off 66 balls.
Tharanga 17(21), Shanaka 2(2)
Seven runs and a wicket for Charith Asalanka in that over. Expect to see Wanindu Hasaranga and Chathuranga De Silva into the attack soon now that we have a right-hander at the crease.
N Dickwella lbw Asalanka 29(18)
Asalanka has made the breakthrough! Dickwella tries to work it leg-side and is beaten on the inside half of the bat as the ball slides through. He sends this upstairs but it's three reds on hawk-eye.
Dasun Shanaka is the new batsman. Major phase of the game coming up.
With the left-handers in, Shanaka is refusing to turn to the De Silva brothers and instead goes to his third off-spinner. It's Charith Asalanka this time.
Tharanga replicates what Dickwella did an over ago. Another chipped boundary over cover. The outfield is lightning fast and it speeds away despite only popping over the cover fielder.
Dambulla 58/2 in 8 overs.
N Dickwella 25(16), U Tharanga 16(19)
Charles fails to collect an apparent stumping opportunity off the bowling of Malik. Malik is annoyed but it turns out to be a no-ball as well soI suppose you cannot technically call it a chance.
Dambulla 49/2 in 7 overs
It's been a tight few overs but Dickwella breaks the shackles with a lofted drive over cover. Dhananjaya De Silva finishes his spell with that over.
Dambulla Viiking need a further 117 runs in 78 balls.
Another miserly over by Dhananjaya De Silva. He has figures of 1/15 in his three overs.
Dambulla Viiking are 37 for 2 after 5 overs.
Three boundaries for Dickwella in that over.
The first one a tad airy-fairy over square on the off-side but there was nothing wrong with the next two that the left-hander timed to prefection to first split the off-side ring and then go over it.
Dambulla 33/2 in 4 overs - Dickwella 16(8), Tharanga 2(2)
Dambulla Viiking 19/2 in 3 overs.
Upul Tharanga joins Dickwella at the wicket.
Angelo Perera c T Perera b D De Silva 4(5)
Oh no! Angelo Perera has handed his wicket to Jaffna Stallions on a platter. He had played a glorious drive all along the carpet the previous ball and this was so unnecessary. The ball is pitched up to him and he wants to clear mid-off. His execution is completely off the mark and Thisara Perera comes forward to take the catch.
Wicket number 1 for Jaffna
S Patel c Malik b Lakmal 10(10)
Patel had a clear plan to target Lakmal and he succeeded for a while with two fours. He continues to throw his bat at the ball however and Lakmal gets one to swing away from him causing Patel's attempted loft to fly all the way to third-man. Lakmal is pleased with that.
Dambulla 11/1 after 2 overs
De Silva gets the ball to drift into the Patel. He isn't looking to turn the ball but is letting the ball move in the air similar to how a Mujeeb Ur-Rahman or Imad Wasim sometimes operate with the new ball.
There is a shout for LBW against Samit that's given out on field but it's overturned after ball-tracking shows it to be sliding a long way down the leg side.
Dambulla Viiking 3/0
Dhananjaya De Silva has been handed the new ball. Samit Pate and Dickwella are the openers for Dambulla Viiking
There is a lot of dew on the outfield which is another factor in Dambulla's favour. We will be back shortly for the chase.
So Dambulla will need 166 to win andqualify for he final
Jaffna lost wickets in a heap in the second half of the innings and managed only 35 runs in the last 5 overs. Dambulla Viiking will be delighted with their comeback when at one stage Jaffna were 111/1 with over 8 overs to go.
Avishka Fernando (39) and Johnson Charles (76) were the chief architects of that powerful start for Jaffna Stallions but the middle-order, which has come through clutch for the Stallions in many of their previous games, couldn't capitalise on the foundation they were provided as they lost wickets at regular intervals.
There were four run-outs towards the end of the Stallions' innings but the best performance with the ball came from Malinda Pushpakumara whose 2 for 28 started the Jaffna slide.
Hasaranga run-out Dickwella/Rajitha 14(15)
Tries to scamper a single after missing a paddle off the last ball but is comfortably runout
Lakmal is run-out trying to give Hasaranga the strike for the last ball. Understandable at this stage
Lakmal run-out A Perera 5(6)
Jaffna fail to find the boundary off the 19th over bowled by Kumara
Jaffna 158/7 in 19 overs.
Hasaranga 7(9), Lakmal 5(6)
Kumara gets Lakmal caught at cover but it's a waist-high full-toss. Hasaranga creams the free-hit down the ground but Anwar Ali fives full-stretch to cut it off.
Anwar Ali has been off colour with the ball today so it's Kumara to share the death overs with Rajitha today.
Jaffna Stallions are 151/7 with two overs to go.
W Hasaranga 4(6) S Lakmal 2(2)
Good over from Rajitha and the Stallions are only able to take for singles from it.
Another one gone!
D De Silva run-out Rajitha/Dickwella 1(1)
The ball goes wide of fine-leg and Jaffna try to scramble two. It was never on and De Silva is out by a considerable distance by the time Dickwella knocks off the bails. Jaffna continue to lose wickets.
Jaffna have lost 6 for 36 starting with the wicket of Asalanka
What a catch from Anwar Ali!
J Charles c Ali b Kumara 76(56)
Anwar Ali moves across to his left from mid-off and dives full length to intercept this smack from Johnson Charles. Huge wicket at this stage. The Dambulla Viiking fielders are delighted and converge around Ali.
Pushpakumara continues his good evening - this time in the field.
C De Silva run-out Pushpakumara 6(4)
De Silva attempts a scoop off Rajitha but the lack of pace means he can only pop it up in the direction of short fine-leg on the bounce. The batsman charges off for the single but Charles sends him back. Pushpakumara swoops on the ball and throws down the stumps to give Dambulla their fifth wicket.
Hasaranga is the new batsman.
Kasun Rajitha returns and Johnson Charles welcomes the return of pace on the ball. He delivers two powerfully struck fours off the first two deliveries of the over. Rajitha manages to keep the over to 11 runs in the end as Chathuranga De Silva is runout off the sixth ball.
2 for 24 to round off Mainda Pushpakumara's spell. A good day at the office for the wily left armer
Jaffna 130/4 in 15 overs.
Charles 63(49), C De Silva 6(2)
How much more can Jaffna get in these last five?
Excellent stuff from Dambulla Viiking
S Malik st. Dickwella b Pushpakumara 1(2)
Pushpakumara has been excellent with his changes of pace today and he does it again by slowing it down to the new batsman and making him stretch to reach the ball. He beats Malik's outside edge and Dickwella has the bails off in a flash. Superb piece of bowling.
The bowler also delivered the ball from a foot or two behind the crease.
Ramesh Mendis has the last laugh
T Perera c Ali b Mendis 7(3)
Perera tries to go again and this time Mendis gets his man! Dambulla's ploy to bring on Mendis to the Jaffna captain has borne fruit. Credit to the off-spinner for executing the plan even after that six the previous ball. Perera tries to go big once again but this time hits it flatter and straight to the fielder he cleared last ball.
After 13 overs: Jaffna Stallions 121/3
Thisara goes big but does not get it cleanly. Ramesh Mendis deceive it but such is Perera's strength that it carries over long-off
Thisara Perera strides in at number 4.
Off-spinner Ramesh Mendis to bowl his first.
C Asalanka c Ali b Pushpakumara 10(8)
A very good over from the experienced spinner. Cleverly varies his pace and trajectory throughout the over and eventually has Asalanka trying to cut loose. However, all the batsman can do is find long-on. Some clever bowling to bring about that wicket.
Asalanka cuts high and handsome over point.
It's short and wide from Anwar Ali and Asalanka is quick to pounce on it, sending it all the way for six to follow up a couple of pick-up shots from Charles earlier in the over. 19 runs off Anwar's second over.
Jaffna 108/1 in 12 overs.
Fifty for Charles!
Powerful pick up over square-leg off Anwar Ali. Dambulla need to remove him soon.
Samit Patel finishes his spell.
The batsmen are content to knock him around and he gives away just five runs. His four overs went for 28 runs.
Jaffna 89/1 after 11
Charles 44(37), Asalanka 2(3)
Jaffna Stallions 84/1 in 10 overs.
Shanaka brings himself on but overpitches in his first over and Charles helps helps himself to three fours through the off-side. The final of those was perhaps a touch fortunate as Charles half slices- half edges one of the two fielders in the circle behind square on the off-side.
After 9 overs: Jaffna Stallions 71/1
Johnson Charles 27(27) , Charith Asalanka 1(1)
Charles took a backseat in the opening partnership with Fernando. He has got himself set and Jaffna will want him to make this a big one.
Dambulla Viiking finally have an opening. What can they make out of it?
Caught an long-on.
A Fernando c A Perera b A Ali 39(26)
Fernando leans forward and attempts to clear the mid wicket boundary. He doesn't get it cleanly and it goes straighter than he intended to Angelo Perera who takes it well inside the rope at long-on. Dambulla will breath a sigh of relief. Anwar Ali, as he has done all tournament, comes in and gets the important breakthrough.
Jaffna Stallions 63/0 in 8 overs.
Charles 24(24), Fernando 35(24)
An under edge gets Charles a four in that over. Was a good few deliveries otherwise for Samit Patel.
A tight four run over from Pushpakumara helps Dambulla regain a modicum of control.
Jaffna 54/0 in 7 overs.
Pushpakumara to continue
Fifty up in the powerplay.
Fernando goes across the line and swings Patel over mid-wicket for another six. Johnson Charles then drops on one knee, targeting the square leg boundary and executes to perfection to collect a boundary of his own.
Well and truly the Stallions' powerplay
Left-arm spin from both ends. It's Malinda Pushpakumara this time and Fernando leans forward and lifts the bowler over long-on for his second six of the evening.
Jaffna Stallions 38 for no loss after 5 overs.
Fernando 24(15), Charles 13(15)
Samit Patel's is quickly through his over. He gives away just two runs to pull things back.
Jaffna 30/0 in 4 overs: Charles 12(13), Fernando 17(11)
15 off the over.
Jaffna Stallions 28/0 after 3 overs.
Charles greets Kumara to a couple for boundaries on either side of the wicket to commence his second over. Fernando then jumps on a slightly shorter delivery and muscles it over the cow corner fence. Kumara has reason to be aggrieved; he should have had Fernando back in the pavilion two overs ago
Avishka Fernando makes Rajitha pay straight away. The fast bowler is given the new ball from the other end and Fernando goes aerial -- first over mid-wicket and then over long-off -- to collect a four and a six. Fernando is on his way.
Jaffna Stallions 13/0 in 2 overs.
Fernando 11(7), Charles 2(5)
An absolute sitter goes down
Kumara goes short to Charles who top edges straight to Kasun Rajitha at fine-leg -- the sort of catch that you would expect to take 10 out of 10 times at practice -- but the ball goes straight through his palms.
Kumara is furious with the fielder.
Jaffna 2/0 in one over.
Fernando nicks to slip second ball but it bounces inches in front of Upul Tharanga. Nearly the perfect start for Dambulla.
Here we go! Dasun Shanaka is leading Dambulla Viiking as the enter the playing field. Avishka Fernando and Johnson Charles are on their way down the stairs to open the innings for Jaffna Stallions
Lahiru Kumara has the new ball.
Jaffna Stallions: Johnson Charles(wk), Avishka Fernando, Charith Asalanka, Shoaib Malik, Chaturanga de Silva, Thisara Perera(c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Dhananjaya de Silva, Suranga Lakmal, Usman Shinwari and Duanne Olivier
Dambulla Viiking: Samit Patel, Niroshan Dickwella(wk), Upul Tharanga, Angelo Perera, Dasun Shanaka(c), Ramesh Mendis, Samiullah Shinwari, Malinda Pushpakumara, Kasun Rajitha, Anwar Ali and Lahiru Kumara
Waiting for the winner of today's semi-final are the Galle Gladiators who held their nerve in a final-over thriller versus Colombo Kings last evening. The Gladiators, who had an inauspicious start to their campaign, have hit their straps at the right time and are riding a wave of confidence which they would hope can last them one more game.
Dambulla Viiking won the toss and chose to field first.
Dambulla captain Dasun Shanaka says that dew possibly becoming a factor later on influenced his decision to bowl.
Dambulla Viiking finished the opening round on second place in the points table with five wins, two losses and a washout in their eight games.
Jaffna Stallion on the other hand started the tournament with a bang, winning four games on the trot but tapered out a bit thereafter as they lost all three of their completed games in the second half of the opening round.
Hello everyone, and welcome to our Live Blog of the second semi-final of the Lanka Premier League between the Jaffna Stallions and Dambulla Viiking.