Galle Gladiators registered its third win in the ongoing Lanka Premier League after crumbling Colombo Kings by 2 wickets on Sunday. The Gladiators have really geared up late in the tournament, winning three matches in a row including the close encounter against the Kings.
Despite the sluggish start to the tournament, Gladiators went on to make it to the finals of the inaugural LPL. Bhanuka Rajapaksa and his men countered yet another close shave, sailing on to a flying finish by Sanadakan’s boundary in 19.5 over at Hambantota.
The players embraced the victory after putting in a collective effort while chasing a total of 151 runs after a remarkable effort from their bowlers during the first inning.
This time Bhanuka Rajapaksa won the toss and opt to bowl first and later chase the target on what has worked for them in all their victories.
Gladiators started on a good note as Thusara dismissed opener Lahiru Udana on just one run in very first delivery of his spell. Colombo Kings’ disappointing start continued to worsen with no other batsmen able to withstand the might of Sandakan who finished with 3/32, followed by N Thusara (2/27) and Dhananjaya Lakshan (2/27) respectively.
Only England batsman D Bell-Drummond managed a 30+ figure by smacking 70 runs of 53 balls, sailing the team total to 150/9 after 20 overs.
Chasing 151 for a place in the finals, even Gladiators stumbled onto a rough start by the exploits of Ashan Priyanjan and Angelo Matthews. Priyanjan conceded the most 42 runs, but inflicted two blots to Gladiators’ chase.
Having lost two back to back wickets, Gladiators’ skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa provided some much-needed resistance by scoring a quick-fire 33 off just 17 balls. Later in the inning saw Dhananjaya Lakshan smacking 31 runs. He also became the man of the match for his all-round performance including 2/27 with the ball and 31 runs during the chase.
The second semi-final is slated to be played between Dambulla Viiking and Jaffna Stallions on tomorrow. The finals will be played on December 16 at Hambantota between Gladiators and winner of second semi-final match.