Jaffna Kings 201 for 3 (Avishka 63, Kohler-Cadmore 57) beat Galle Gladiators 178 for 9 (Gunathilaka 54, Chaturanga 2-15, Hasaranga 2-30) with 23 runs
Avishka Fernando and Rahmanullah Gurbaz had an insane opening in the 2021 Lanka Premier League (LPL) final against Galle Gladiators, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Shoaib Malik and Thisara Perera, bringing the Jaffna Kings to a total of 201 for 3, and then their super attack finished the game.
On Thursday, Maheesh Theekshana (arguably the tournament's best bowler) and Jayden Seales (the LPL's best Quick) took to the track when Danushka Gunathilaka produced a terrifying opening salvo that led the gladiators' hunt to a rocket-powered start. But Kings have plenty of good bowlers, including Wanindu Hasaranga. It produced a vital one-two punch and an excellent spell overall. Suranga Lakmal and Chaturanga de Silva also provided bottlenecks.Gladiators were tenacious, but Kings comfortably defended their standings and won with 23 runs.
There has been a controversial change of ownership since the last LPL, but Jaffna has now won the first two LPLs. Thisara Perera has led her to both wins. Theekshana, Hasaranga and Lakmal were valuable assets for both campaigns. And for the second time, former Sri Lankan batsman Thilina Kandamby has put together an excellent squad and is at the forefront of the best tactical side of the competition.
Gurbaz's opening volley
Gurbaz had played the first five games of the LPL mediocre, but caught fire towards the end of the tournament and was again in excellent form in the power play. He got his first limit thanks to a miss at the end of the first overs but then exploded, hitting three straight sixes and a four of his next seven deliveries to get the Kings innings up a gear from where it never really downshifted . He eventually punched his way out against Samit Patel's crafty left arm, but his 35 of 18 were instrumental in helping Kings 61 reap in power play.
Fernando Motoren to another fifty
After Fernando had scored the best innings of the tournament in qualifying on Tuesday against the Dambulla Giants, he delivered another impressive innings in the final to maintain the Kings' momentum through the early middle overs. He had not been lazy in power play and had reached five limits, but was still effective against the gladiators' spinners, clearing the limit against Patel and later the legspin of Pulina Tharanga. When Nuwan Thushara overtook him in the 13th over for 63 out of 41 in deep midwicket, the Kings were still at around 10 per over.
Kohler-Cadmore and Perera put an end to it
The Kings top 5 have been ruthless as the tournament progressed, and they have all the batter they needed to hit another total of over 200 over. And then Thisara, the most explosive batter in the tournament, hit two sixes and a four at the start of the final to avoid collecting 17 from nine balls.
Mendis and Gunathilaka scare Kings
Kusal Mendis and Gunathilaka, both currently suspended from national service, have had to score points in the LPL and Mendis has at least given cause for Sri Lanka's selection to reconsider him as soon as he becomes available, top scorer in the league . with his 327 runs and a hit rate of 149. Today, however, it was Gunathilaka who was most effective, laying in the first four overs of the power play against Theekshana, Seales and Lakmal and hitting an excellent 54 of 21 balls. With this volley, gladiators looted 81 from the power play overs.
Hasaranga changes the game
The Kings attack is so deep, however, that their third best bowler in the tournament was Hasaranga, who is currently at the top of the T20I world rankings. And it was he who released Gunathilaka, had him caught for cover before releasing Ben Dunk the next ball with a googly. His quick thinking when receiving a throw at the end of the non-striker also helped finish Mohammad Hafeez's innings as he quickly tossed the ball to the goalkeeper to find the batsman short.
Later in the game, his brother Chaturanga also contributed by taking over the wickets from Dhananjaya Lakshan and Tharanga. Wanindu made an excellent catch running from cover to complete his brother's release.