Danushka Gunathilaka’s splendid innings of 82 off 53 went in vain as an all-round effort from Kandy Tuskers saw them get on the points table. In a chase of 197, Galle Gladiators were always behind in the game, and succumbed to their third defeat in as many games, losing by 25 runs.
For Kandy Tuskers, a well-compiled half-century from Brendan Taylor and 49 from Kusal Mendis were the key contributions as they put up an impressive 196 for 5 batting first.
Unlike Taylor, Gunathilaka lacked the desired support as the Galle Gladiators kept losing wickets. Munaf Patel had Hazratullah Zazai (2) caught in the very first over. Azam Khan (13) played a half-hearted drive, while Bhanuka Rajapaksa (12) ran himself out heading for a non-existent single.
But the Gladiators were dealt with their biggest blow in the chase when skipper Shahid Afridi drove his first ball without conviction to be caught at extra cover off Seekkuge Prasanna.
For Kandy Tuskers, Nuwan Pradeep was exceptional at the death with his yorkers while Dilruwan Perera, Asela Gunaratne, and Naveen-ul-Haq picked up a wicket each while keeping the runs down.
Taylor-made recovery for Kandy Tuskers
Taylor made a fluent 51 from 35 balls with the aid of seven fours and one six. Despite the Tuskers losing their way following the loss of a few wickets, Taylor ensured that the franchise finished with an impressive score.
Taylor kept finding the boundaries in the last five overs and got good support from Kamindu Mendis, who chipped in with 28 from 16.
In the bowling department, the Galle Gladiators would be pleased to restrict Kandy Tuskers to under 200. Afridi was once again the most economical bowler with 0 for 25 while Mohammad Amir finished with 1 for 31. The others were expensive even as they picked wickets.
After being put in to bat by the Galle Gladiators, Rahmanullah Gurbaz looked impressive once again as an opener, hitting a couple of sixes off Akila Dananjaya in the third over. The spinner, though, exacted sweet revenge when he had Gurbaz caught the next ball.
The two Kusals -- Perera and Mendis -- then featured in a 75-run stand for the second wicket to lift the Kandy Tuskers. The duo took 17 runs off Dananjaya’s third over as the innings got into shape.
Mendis hit two consecutive sixes off pacer Mohamed Shiraz’s first over as 21 came from the sixth. The stand was beginning to assume dangerous proportions when Lakshan Sandakan deceived both of them to bring Galle Gladiators back in the game. However, he couldn’t get past Taylor.
LPL 2020 Kandy Tuskers vs Galle Gladiators: Who was the Man of the Match?
Despite the loss, Gunathilaka, for his splendid innings of 82 off 53, which featured 13 fours and a six, deserved to be in the race for the player of the match. Dilruwan Perera and Gunaratne were excellent, suffocating the Galle Gladiators in the chase. Kusal Mendis contributed a key 49.
Brendan Taylor, though, was the rightful man of the match. He stitched the innings together after it seemed to have gone somewhat astray. His timely knock ensured Kandy Tuskers had enough on the board for their bowlers to defend.