Dambulla Aura’s 147 for 4 (Dhananjaya 40) was defeated by B-Love Kandy’s 151 for 5 (K Mendis 44, Ahmad 3-27) by five wickets.
B-Love Kandy triumphed over a string of injuries and a rigorous schedule (this was their second game in 24 hours) to win the fourth Sri Lanka Premier League. With one ball remaining, they successfully chased down 148 to win.
Noor Ahmad of Dambulla Aura finished first in ESPNcricinfo’s MVP rankings despite just going 3 for 27 during a final loss. Even though he was named Player of the Match, Angelo Mathews didn’t make the top five. In fact, there wasn’t a final with particularly impressive play or attention-getting displays; rather, the team that handled the critical situations the best won.
And in that regard, Mathews served as an example, leading the team to victory in a routine chase that had suddenly become tense at the very end due to the loss of several late wickets. The stand-in skipper was just the player you would have wanted at the crease with the game running down, on a sticky wicket, and the requirement hanging above run-a-ball, even though his 21-ball 25 won’t appear on any highlight reels.
Due to Wanindu Hasaranga’s injury, Kandy entered the game as the clear underdog.
Wanindu Hasaranga’s injury put Kandy squarely in the role of underdogs going into the game, making a victory much sweeter in his absence. It was the most recent injury that Dushmantha Chameera and Isuru Udana had endured.
It’s incredibly terrible that our top player will not be present for the most important event. After our first two defeats, he single-handedly got us to the championship game, Matthews had said during the coin toss. “I can’t even keep track of how many injuries we’ve had. To be honest, I believe that the schedule has also been somewhat demanding. We were the only team to play three straight days.
Finally, Kandy made use of these setbacks as fuel to secure a victory that will live long in the memories of all those involved.
Sadeera establishes the mood.
Dambulla needed to counterpunch after losing the in-form Avishka Fernando in just the third over, and that too after a cautious start. Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama delivered precisely that, scoring 57 runs off of 47 deliveries. Particularly outstanding was Sadeera, who challenged the spinners and occasionally went against the spin to get runs when others may have given up. His 36 off 30 as his companion got a 22 from 23 balls speaks to his upbeat attitude.
The tide is halted by Chaturanga.
Although Hasaranga was unquestionably the season’s bright spot, it is fair to argue that Chaturanga de Silva, the elder brother, briefly held the advantage in terms of potential. Wanindu admits that Chaturanga is the superior all-arounder, despite the fact that Chaturanga’s standing atop the batting and bowling records this year may have permanently altered that view. Although Sadeera and Kusal were both set batters, the elder de Silva did his younger sibling proud by dismissing both of them in the span of six deliveries, saving his team from losing a game that was in danger of disintegrating very soon.
Kusal Perera and Dhananjaya reinvigorate Dambulla.
Even in the best of circumstances, having two fresh batters at the crease halfway through a T20 innings isn’t ideal, let alone when it happens on a slow surface that nearly requires a batter to get their eyes in before letting loose. But that was precisely the predicament Kusal Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva were in. But now that they are two of Sri Lanka’s more senior leaders, they have put their vast expertise to good use.
A stretch of 35 deliveries without a boundary was broken by the following two balls of their partnership, which virtually doubled the 15 runs that were scored off the first 22 balls by hitting a pair of sixes. They would eventually combine for 63 runs off just 46 balls, which greatly aided Dambulla’s ability to record a respectable total.
Kamindu saves the day.
Kamindu had played five times before, taking zero wickets overall and scoring a total of 53 runs. Unsurprisingly, he was not included in Kandy’s victory over Galle in the Eliminations. The Kandy skipper’s position could never be filled by a single player, however, as Kandy lost Wanindu’s batting and bowling abilities in this match.
Kamindu was brought in to improve the batting while also providing ambidextrous spin if necessary. He performed flawlessly in the opening position alongside Mohammed Haris, putting together stands of 49 and 45 with Haris and Dinesh Chandimal en route to a 37-ball 44. Although he lost the race with 54 to go, he made sure that most of the pursuit was over before that time.
Asif and Mathews witnessed it arrive home.
With eight wickets in hand and 54 runs needed off 44 balls, Mathews entered the crease. This LPL has seen worse collapses, but Matthews wasn’t going to add to the list. While the sudden losses of Chandimal and Chaturanga could have made some people nervous, Mathews and Asif Ali would make sure that there wouldn’t be a late Dambulla comeback. Two fours and a six were part of Asif’s 19 off 10, but he was out in the 19th over. But Matthews wouldn’t freak out. He would decide to hit his second and third boundaries of the inning at that point, when 15 were needed off the final nine deliveries, making the final over as simple as possible.
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