Lanka Premier League 2nd semi-final, Jaffna Stallions vs Dambulla Viiking: Who won yesterday’s LPL 2020 match?

Johnson Charles. Pic: Twitter
Johnson Charles. Pic: Twitter

Johnson Charles (76) and Wanindu Hasaranga (3 for 15) played key roles for Jaffna Stallions who ended their losing streak in the LPL 2020 with a 37-run win in the semi-final against Dambulla Viiking.

Dambulla Viiking fought well to restrict Jaffna Stallions to 165/9 after the latter had raced away to 111 for 1 in the 13th over. However, Dambulla Viiking's batting was a complete letdown on the big day. Apart from Upul Tharanga’s 33 and a couple of 20s, no one stood up to the occasion.

In the chase of 166, Dambulla Viiking got off to a shaky start and never really recovered. After surviving an erroneous lbw decision in the first over by Dhananjaya de Silva via a review, Samit Patel (10) edged a length ball from Suranga Lakmal to Shoaib Malik at deep third man.

Dhananjaya de Silva had a bigger scalp when he foxed the in-form Angelo Perera (5) into a false stroke with a clever change of pace and flight.

The dynamic Niroshan Dickwella looked to take the attack to Jaffna Stallions by whacking Lakmal for three fours in his second over. However, Dickwella was trapped lbw by Charith Asalanka for a well-made 29 off 18. Unlike Patel, a review could not save Dickwella, who was trapped in front of the stumps.

By the end of the 11th over, Dambulla Viiking had lost half their side for 73. Dasun Shanaka perished for five whie going for a non-existent single. A few balls later, Samiullah Shinwari (4) was trapped lbw when he played down the wrong line to Hasaranga. Shinwari was keen to review, but Dambulla Viiking did not have any left.

Disaster struck again for the chasing side wjem Anwar Ali (5) set off for a tight run only to be caught short at the striker’s end. It was the second run-out effected by Usman Shinwari. Soon, Tharanga’s painstaking innings of 33 off 39 came to an end when he edged Hasaranga behind the wicket.

With Dambulla Viiking collapsing to 96 for 7, there was only going to be one winner despite Ramesh Mendis’ 10-ball 26. Hasaranga, not for the first time, was the standout performer for Jaffna Stallions with exceptional figures of 3 for 15.

Johnson Charles lifts his game when it matters most for Jaffna Stallions

Johnson Charles did not have a great run in the LPL 2020 leading up to the semi-final. However, Jaffna Stallions reposed their faith in him, and the batsman made the opportunity count.

After getting dropped at deep fine leg by Kasun Rajitha off Lahiru Kumara’s bowling in the very first over, Charles made Dambulla Viiking pay heavily.

He went on to hammer a classy 76 off only 56 balls, with ten fours and a six. Together with Avishka Fernando, Charles featured in a brisk first-wicket stand of 68 runs for Jaffna Stallions.

Fernando made the day worse for Rajitha when he flicked him for four and shovelled him for a maximum in the second over. Charles added insult to Kumara’s injuries by driving and pulling him for consecutive fours before Fernando slashed another six over cow corner.

The runs kept flowing for the Jaffna Stallions pair until a lofted stroke from Fernando (39) off Anwar Ali found a fielder on the boundary. There was no respite for Dambulla Viiking though, as Shanaka was smashed for three fours in his first over by Charles.

Johnson Charles brought up his 50 off 39 balls in style, pulling Anwar Ali over backward square for a six. Dambulla Viiking finally had something to cheer about when Asalanka (10) perished to Malinda Pushpakumara, picking out long-on. Wickets kept crumbling after that, and theJaffna Stallions innings began to stutter.

Charles' innings came to an end when he hit a thigh-high full-toss straight up in the air. On the very next ball, Dhananjaya de Silva was run out while attempting a non-existent single.

Despite having the opposition bowlers at their mercy, Jaffna Stallions could only put up 165 runs on the board. On a day when Dambulla Viiking's batsmen seemed hell-bent on committing hara-kiri, it proved more than enough though.

LPL 2020 Captains’ Corner

Jaffna Stallions captain Thisara Perera:

"We had a lot of experiments (in earlier games), but we went back to full strength. As a bowling unit, we've done a really good job. In this kind of weather and conditions, it's tough to grip the ball. Wanindu Hasaranga, he's doing a great job for us."

Dambulla Viiking captain Dasun Shanaka:

"We did really good in our bowling, especially Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha. The two run-outs cost the game for us. If they were not, the game would have been different. 165 was gettable on this wicket.”

LPL 2020 - Jaffna Stallions vs Dambulla Viiking: Who was the Man of the Match?

Malinda Pushpakumara stood out for Dambulla Viiking with 2 for 24 in a losing cause. Hasaranga was stupendous once again for Jaffna Stallions with figures of 3 for 15.

However, one cannot look past Charles for the Player of the Match though. Coming into the LPL game under intense scrutiny, he raised his game and ensured that Dambulla Viiking paid heavily for dropping him early on.

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Edited by Bhargav
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