By Amindha de Alwis
Captain Dasun Shanaka led from the front as Dambulla Viiking handed Colombo Kings their first defeat of the tournament in their Lanka Premier League (LPL) encounter worked off at Sooriyawewa today (1).
Shanaka’s 34-ball 56 comprised of four sixes and three fours, and helped his side reach 175 for 9 in their 20 overs.
The Viiking got off to an inauspicious start with openers Niroshan Dickwella and Paul Stirling falling cheaply. Upul Tharanga (25) and Samit Patel (30) got them out of troubled waters but both fell in quick succession to Dushmantha Chameera, who bowled with good pace, leaving their side on 82 for 4 halfway through the eleventh over.
Colombo Kings missed a golden opportunity to remove the in-form Shanaka early when wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal failed to gather the ball cleanly after Shanaka was lured out of his crease by Qais Ahmed. It proved a costly mistake as his dismissal at that stage may have consigned the Viiking to a score 20-30 runs less than the eventually achieved.
Shanaka’s knock of 56 took his LPL aggregate after three matches to 164 runs - the highest of any player in the tournament so far.
Isuru Udana and Andre Russell walked away with three wickets apiece but the Kings were largely wayward with the ball, conceding 24 extras.
Dambulla Viiking had gone into the game with two leg-spinners and two left-arm orthodox spinners as a response to the 10 right-handers in the Colombo Kings’ batting line-up.
The move worked out brilliantly as the spinners stymied the opposition with only Englishman Laurie Evans (59 off 33) finding any sort of fluency.
Samit Patel (2 for 30) plucked a one-handed return chance to send Dinesh Chandimal back to the pavilion with the very first ball of the chase and Shanaka made certain to have a spinner bowling from at least one end right throughout the Kings’ innings.
Sachindu Colombage was responsible for the big wicket of Andre Russell who failed to pounce on a very much hittable drag down from the leg-spinner, sending it straight to Angelo Perera on the boundary.
However, the most impressive bowler of the afternoon was Malinda Pushpakumara who varied his pace nicely and claimed figures of 2 for 19 in his four overs.
Anwar Ali and Pulina Tharanga claimed top scalps as well to help bowl out Colombo Kings with eight balls to spare and give Dambulla Viiking a 28-run victory - their second win in three games.