Danushka Gunathilaka’s splendid innings of 78 from 52 went in vain as Dambulla Viiking handed Galle Gladiators yet another defeat in match 12 of LPL 2020.
Chasing a mammoth target of 208, Galle Gladiators were very much in the chase with 21 needed off the last two overs and a well-set Gunathilaka at the crease.
However, Anwar Ali bowled a brilliant penultimate over, conceding only four runs. More significantly, he had Gunathilaka caught in the deep off a slower off-cutter. Ali thus made up for dropping the batsman in the same over, the third time Gunathilaka was given a reprieve.
With 17 needed off the last over, Kasun Rajitha bowled a tight over. He conceded only seven and got the better of Dhananjaya Lakshan as Dambulla Viiking won the contest by nine runs.
— LPL – Lanka Premier League (@LPLT20) December 5, 2020
Gunathilaka and his opening partner Ahsan Ali (19) got the team off to a quick start adding 42 in the first four overs. The introduction of left-arm spinner Samit Patel led to Ali’s wicket after he completely mistimed one.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s poor run continued as he was stumped off Ramesh Mendis. Gunathilaka and Azam Khan (55 from 24) then featured in a rollicking 94-run stand for the third wicket.
Khan was outstanding with his big-hitting smashing three sixes and seven fours. Till the time he was at the crease, Galle Gladiators looked in command. However, the game changed after he cut Dasun Shanaka straight to backward point.
The lower-order batsmen could not support Gunathilaka, who himself was aided by poor fielding on more than one occasion. The brilliant 19th over by Anwar Ali, however, sealed matters in Dambulla Viiking’s favour.
Batting first after winning the toss, Dambulla Viiking posted a mammoth 207 for 4 on the board. The score was possible courtesy a sensational opening stand of 110 in 12.4 overs between Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga.
While wicket-keeper batsman Dickwella was the aggressor in the partnership, blasting 60 from 37 balls, Tharanga was comparatively sedate but carried on to make an equally impressive 77 from 54 balls for Dambulla Viiking.
Coming in at one down, in-form skipper Dasun Shanaka also made a significant contribution once again, scoring 37 from 21 with three sixes.
After a quiet start, Dickwella swung into action by slapping Shehan Jayasuriya for three consecutive fours in the fourth over of the match. A couple of more big hits came against medium pacer Dhananjaya Lakshan in the next over, including a sweep for six over short fine leg.
Anwar Ali’s lightning pace and varied style helped scalp crucial Gladiator wickets, earning him the Man of the Match Award ⚡#DambullaViiking #SonsOfThor #LPL2020 #HammerTime #SriLanka #Cricket #WeAreDambulla #DVvsGG @realanwarali48 pic.twitter.com/0mO8r2WbMN
— Dambulla Viiking LPL (@dambullaviiking) December 5, 2020
The partnership went from strength to strength and Tharanga joined the fun by welcoming left-arm spinner Lakshan Sandakan to the crease with a couple of fours in his first over.
Dickwella brought up his 50 off 30 balls by working Danushka Gunathilaka to long on for one. The partnership was finally broken in the 13th over when Dickwella lofted Sandakan into the hands of long on. The wicket-keeper batsman’s fine knock featured five fours and three sixes.
Skipper Shanaka came in and immediately muscled Asitha Fernando for a six over the cow corner. The well-set Tharanga soon reached his fifty courtesy a misfield at deep point as the ball deflected past the boundary.
Tharanga’s innings came to an end via a full toss from Fernando, which he placed into the hands of deep midwicket. Shanaka and Samit Patel perished in the penultimate over, but some big hits in the last over off Fernando took Dambulla Viiking past 200.
Tharanga top-scored for Dambulla Viiking with 77 from 54. Dickwella kick-started the innings for the team with a scintillating 60 from 37. For Galle Gladiators, Gunathilaka stood out with a belligerent 78 from 52 in a losing cause.
However, Anwar Ali was named man of the match for his 3 for 37. He got the big scalp of Gunathilaka in the penultimate over, and gave away only four, which ensured victory for Dambulla Viiking.