Wanindu Hasaranga (second from right) took 3 for 15 in his four overs, to help the Stallions defend a 166-run target against the Dambulla Viiking
By M. Shamil Amit
The Jaffna Stallions cruised through to the final of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) with a convincing 37-run win over the Dambulla Viiking in the second semi-final played at the Sooriyawewa Stadium in Hambantota yesterday.
The Viiking lost two early wickets in their run chase, inside the first three overs with the score on 18, and despite a third wicket partnership of 44 between Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga, could never get ahead of the chase.
At the halfway stage of their innings the Viiking were struggling on 73 for 5 after which they lost wickets at regular intervals. Only Ramesh Mendis was able to put in some resistance, but it was of little benefit as Dambulla lost their remaining five wickets for the 55 runs and were bowled out for 128 runs.
Spinner Wanindu Hasaranga did the damage, ending with impressive figures of 3 for 15, which included a wicket maiden, from the four overs he bowled.
Earlier, Jaffna openers Avishka Fernando and Johnson Charles made steady progress after the Stallions were asked to bat first.
Fernando in particular was playing with immense confidence, and he and Charles had little difficulty in negotiating the Viiking’s bowlers as they reached the 50-run mark in the sixth over.
However, right arm pacie Anwar Ali made the first breakthrough for the Viiking, separating the pair with the wicket of Fenando who made 39 in 26 balls that included two boundaries and four sixes and the Stallions on 68.
Charles found another reliable partner in Charith Asalanka and he raced to his half ton in 39 balls with a massive six off Ali. It was an expensive over for Ali as he conceded 19 runs, the 12th of the innings. To add salt to the wound Asalanka slammed a six in the same over which brought up the Stallions’ 100.
But Asalanka did not last long as he fell victim to spinner Malinda Pushpakumara with Stallions’ score on 111. Skipper Thisara Perera too did not last long, out after only three balls being able contribute only seven runs.
This followed with the Stallions losing four quick wickets for the addition of just 27 runs which included the wicket of Charles who made a top score of 76 in only 56 balls which comprised ten boundaries and a six.
With three more overs to negotiate from there on the Stallions added a further 18 runs to end with a modest score of 165 runs.
Jaffna Stallions will meet giant killers Galle Gladiators in the final scheduled to be played on December 16 at the same venue.