Asela Gunaratne put up a fine all-round show to lead Kandy Tuskers’ charge. After claiming 2 for 21 with the ball, he scored an unbeaten 52 off 37 to help Kandy Tuskers ace a chase of 151.
After failing to put up a formidable score on the board, Jaffna Stallions needed to strike early. They did exactly that when Rahmanullah Gurbaz slogged Suranga Lakmal straight to mid-on.
A struggling Kusal Mendis fell to Duanne Olivier for two off eight. When Wanindu Hasaranga had Brendan Taylor stumped for 11 with a googly, Kandy Tuskers were reduced to 44 for 3.
— LPL – Lanka Premier League (@LPLT20) December 9, 2020
However, a fluent fourth-wicket partnership of 51 between skipper Kusal Perera and Asela Gunaratne restored the ascendancy for Kandy Tuskers. Perera scored a steady 36-ball 42 while Gunaratne was in aggressive mode. He kept finding the boundaries at regular intervals to keep the required run-rate under control.
Gunaratne hit five fours and a six off Olivier over cow corner to seal a crucial win for Kandy Tuskers. After Perera’s dismissal, the experienced Irfan Pathan (25 off 19) featured in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 56 with Gunaratne.
Kandy Tuskers put up an excellent bowling performance to restrict a strong Jaffna Stallions batting lineup to 150.
Nuwan Pradeep picked up 3 for 36 while Dale Steyn, Vishwa Fernando and Gunaratne all claimed two wickets apiece to ensure that Jaffna Stallions were restricted to a manageable total despite Shoaib Malik’s 44-ball 59.
Steyn got Kandy Tuskers off to the perfect start when he had Avishka Fernando caught behind second-ball with one that swung late. The other Tuskers opener, Johnson Charles ,responded by hitting Steyn for three fours in an over.
However, Vishwa Fernando dealt another setback to Kandy Tuskers by trapping Charith Asalanka lbw for 18. Pradeep soon joined in the action when he had the dangerous-looking Charles caught off a length ball, with Steyn taking a good running catch.
Kandy Tuskers @KandyLPL register their 2nd win of the tournament! Asela Gunaratne the MoM for his all-round performances (52 not out – 2/21)
— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) December 9, 2020
A fourth-wicket partnership of 59 between Malik and Minod Bhanuka took Jaffna Stallions past the 100-run mark. However, just when it seemed like the batting side were fighting back, Bhanuka (21) hit a full-toss from Gunaratne straight to long-off.
Things got worse for Jaffna Stallions when two of their key players – skipper Thisara Perera and Wanindu Hasarnga – perished for single-figure scores. When Suranga Lakmal was run out following a horrible mix-up with Shoaib Malik, Jaffna Stallions slipped to 118 for 7.
At the other end, Malik scored a well-deserved half-century and was Jaffna Stallions’ last hope of putting up a good total on the board.
On 59 though, with a couple of crucial overs still left, Shoaib Malik guided a full-toss to deep square leg. His innings featuring five fours and six was a decent one, but he fell short of taking Jaffna Stallions to a competitive total.
There was plenty of good bowling from Kandy Tuskers. Dale Steyn got the side off to a perfect start by bagging 2 for 33. Nuwan Pradeep got the big wickets to end with figures of 3 for 36 while Vishwa Fernando also impressed with 2 for 29.
For Jaffna Stallions, Shoaib Malik played a credible hand with 59. However, the Man of the Match award deservedly went to Kandy Tuskers all-rounder Asela Gunaratne for his excellent show with both bat and ball.
After picking up two scalps and keeping things tight, he came in and ensured that Kandy Tuskers completed their chase without any hiccups.