By M. Shamil Amit
All-rounders Lahiru Madushanka and Dhananjaya Lakshan played vital knocks at the backend of the Galle Gladiators innings to see them across the line with four wickets and four balls to spare against the Kandy Warriors, for their second win of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday.
Chasing 144, the Gladiators were given a good start by openers Kusal Mendis and Dhanushka Gunathilake, who together put on 62 runs in 45 deliveries, but couldn’t build on that platform losing six wickets for 56 runs, before Madushanka and Lakshan carried them to victory on the second ball of the final over.
With seven runs needed off the last over, Kandy captain Angelo Perera opted to bowl himself, and the decision backfired with Madushanka cracking a six over deep square leg and then heaving a boundary straight down the ground.
The win meant that Galle reclaimed the early lead in the points table, overtaking Colombo Stars, albeit having played an extra game.
After that opening wicket stand, the Gladiators were in a strong position at 83 for 1 in the 12th over before losing wickets at regular intervals and slid to 118 for 6 with spinner Sachindu Colombage doing the damage.
His 3 for 20 would prove in vain however, with Madusanka making a brisk 22 in 13 balls with a boundary and two sixes and along with Lakshan steering the side with a valuable unbroken stand of 29 runs in 14 balls.
Early proceedings saw Kandy Warriors skipper Angelo Perera winning the toss and opting to take first lease of the wicket but they lost their first wicket in the second ball of the innings and their second wicket 16 runs later.
Opener Ahmed Shehzad joined by Kamindu Mendis came to the rescue of their side as the pair frustrated the Galle Gladiators and posted their 50 runs partnership in the ninth over. Shehzad raced to his half ton off a boundary of Mohammad Hafeez which came off 38 balls.
Samit Patel made the breakthrough with the wicket of Kamindu Mendis who made 32 in 25 balls that comprised four boundaries. From there on the Galle Gladiators bowlers had their opponents under control.
They lost three quick wickets, including that of Shehzad, who made 58 in 51 balls inclusive of seven boundaries, before being restricted for a score of 143 runs.
Main photo: Danushka Gunathilake top scored for the Gladiators with 45 off 33 balls (Photo courtesy SLC)