By M. Shamil Amit
Angelo Perera and Samiullah Shinwari starred in Dambulla Viiking’s last ball thrilling win by four wickets over Galle Gladiators in the 17th match of the Lanka Premier League T20 encounter played at the Sooriyawewa Stadium.
Angelo shone in the early part of the innings of Dambulla Viiking in their run chase of 169 runs as he put on a valuable 53 runs stand for the third wicket with skipper Dasun Shanaka.
Later Samiullah came to the rescue of Viiking’s when they lost quick wickets and was struggling on 128 for 6 in the 17th over when he slammed an unbeaten 46 in only 20 balls which comprised six boundaries and two sixes and associated in an unbroken 46 runs stand for the seventh wicket with Ramesh Mendis.
Galle Gladiators being invited to take first lease of the wicket in the first session saw openers Dhanushka Gunathilaka and Ahsan Ali paying scant respect to the Dambulla Viiking bowlers and having things their own way.
Gunathilaka in particular was severe whilst Ali was dismissed with the score on 33 but they continued to blast the attack and posted the first 50 runs of the innings in 4.2 overs and in the end of the sixth over they were sitting pretty on 73.
Gunathilaka and skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa put on a quick fire 50 runs stand in only 29 balls before the Gladiators were dealt a double blow by spinner Ramesh Mendis who bagged the scalps of Rajapaksa and Azam Khan with the score on 83.
Mendis on a hat-trick was denied by Chadwick Walton but the dismissal of Gunathilaka whose knock of 46 in 31 balls saw them falling back. Apart from two knocks one of 39 by Shehan Jayasuriya and 23 by Dhananjaya Lakshan the others failed to make any impression as the Gladiators in sight of 200 runs in the early part of the innings was restricted to a score of 168.
The defeat for Galle Gladiators have put them in a spot of bother to qualify for the fourth semi final slot which will be decided in their last match against Kandy Tuskers which is scheduled to be played today.