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188/5 (20)
124/10 (16.5)
Galle Gladiators won by 64 runs.
Player of the match: Kusal Mendis
That will be all then from Qualifier 1. The Gladiators are in the summit clash and they now await one of the Dambulla Giants and the Jaffna Kings, who will battle it out in Qualifier 2 in a couple of days' time. Do join us for our coverage of that contest to find out if we will see a repeat of last year's final or if a new winner is in store for this year's Lanka Premier League. Thank you so much for tuning into our coverage of this contest, which we hope you enjoyed as much as we did bringing to you. On behalf of my good friend and co-commentator Pradeep Somashekar, this is Sooryanarayanan Sesha once again reminding you to mask up and get yourselves vaccinated in case you haven't already. Good night, take care and have a great week ahead!
Bhanuka Rajapaksa (Galle Gladiators Captain): You could see a total difference when you bat on good wickets. They showed the class they have on good wickets. A total of 188 was always going to be important. I think our team has been well-balanced and we don't want to change much. It is a good habit to beat the champions. Kusal and Danushka batted really well and I think the way Nuwan Thushara bowled was brilliant.
Thisara Perera (Jaffna Kings Captain): It's happened before in cricket. We gave 25-30 runs more. The main thing is the boys are doing a really good job from the past few matches. We will come back strong in the next match. It was a really nice wicket here while it turned a bit in Colombo. It is tough adapting to different pitches but we will come back stronger.
It's time for the presentation!

Kusal Mendis has been adjudged the Man of the Match for his blistering knock of 85 off 53 balls!

says, the wickets are so different from Premadasa from here, batting with Gunathilaka was easy and they helped each other in the partnership. Being away from cricket, he didn't play much of the cricket, he practiced really hard and his work with the SLC coaches, very thankful for the opportunity he's had!
They made the final last year but fell short to the Jaffna Kings. This time around, they've beaten the same side thrice in as many games this tournament - what a redemption story this has been for the Galle Gladiators who have made it to the final of LPL 2021!

Their batters led the way and ransacked 188 on the board. Early wickets were always going to put them in the ascendancy and with Avishka Fernando and the dangerous Tom Kohler-Cadmore getting out early, the Gladiators were firmly in pole position. Ashen Bandara crawled, huffed and puffed but just could not get any mojo into his innings and it was all Rahmanullah Gurbaz at the other end. The Afghan prodigy went about belting the bowlers on his own and picked the bones out of the white cherry at will.

It was a responsible innings from Gurbaz who mixed his aggression with prudent strike rotation. However, wickets kept tumbling at the other end and the fact that a couple of his senior pros in Shoaib Malik and Thisara Perera perished to hit me deliveries pretty much summed up the night for the Jaffna Kings. Once Gurbaz departed, the writing was well and truly on the wall.

Wanindu Hasaranga stormed away with some belligerent hits and a 21-run over off Mohammad Hafeez offered a semblance of hope. The asking rate continued to mount steeply though and it took Nuwan Thushara all of one over to pull the shutters down on the innings. Three wickets in five deliveries saw him coast to just the second ever five-wicket haul in LPL history as the Gladiators wrapped up a comprehensive annihilation of the Kings to book a berth in the final.

It was a collective effort from the team from Galle whose fielders held onto their catches to aid the bowlers' cause. Mohammad Amir bowled with intent and wheels while Isuru Udana kept things tight. Pulina Tharanga produced a moment of brilliance to run Ashen Bandara at the non-striker's end while Bhanuka Rajapaksa's calls on the field were absolutely spot on. No wonder then that the Gladiators were not going to be halted from making the summit clash!
Five for Nuwan Thushara! Take a bow young man! Here's a bowler you will hear a lot of in times to come folks. Just a matter of time before he gets his national cap and he has stepped up in the summit clash in an impressive manner. That will be all from Hambantota - Galle Gladiators beat Jaffna Kings by 64 runs to qualify for the final of LPL 2021!
16.5 Nuwan Thushara to Maheesh Theekshana, OUT! EDGED AND TAKEN! THAT'S IT, IT'S ALL OVER! Thushara has a FIVE-FOR and more importantly Galle Gladiators storm into the finals! Back of a length shapes away on the outside off, Theekshana went for the similar shot but this time finds a healthy edge as Mendis takes a neat catch and Gladiators thump Kings for the third time in this season and reach the finals. Jaffna Kings though have another shot to get to the finals and meet Gladiators again!
16.4 Nuwan Thushara to Maheesh Theekshana, short delivery tailing away on the outside off as Theekshana on the backfoot looking to cut but misses.
Maheesh Theekshana, RHB, is the last man out in the middle. He will take strike.
Four for Thushara! What a magnificent spell of bowling this has been and he has a wonderful opportunity of sealing a spot in the summit clash for the Gladiators with a five-fer. Would be quite the icing on the cake now, wouldn't it?
16.3 Nuwan Thushara to Wahab Riaz, OUT! BOWLED'EM! Thushara is having a night for sure, four wickets to him. Takes the pace off, back of a length on the off-stump, Riaz went for another hoick but misses, this time he's on the money as it goes through to crash into the stumps and just formalities remain for the Gladiators as they're almost there to make it to the finals!

Wahab Riaz b Nuwan Thushara 1 (4b, 0x4, 0x6)
16.2 Nuwan Thushara to Wahab Riaz, another excellent change of pace, length delivery on the fourth stump line and Riaz went for the swipe too early and misses.
Suranga Lakmal, RHB, makes his way to the crease. He will be at the non-striker's end.
GAME, SET AND MATCH. That should be it folks! Yes, Wahab Riaz can wallop it but this is too far-fetched a proposition for the tail now.
16.1 Nuwan Thushara to Wanindu Hasaranga, OUT! UP IN THE AIR IN THE NIGHT SKY AND TAKEN! That's the huge blow for Kings and probably the game for the Gladiators. Change of pace on the off-stump, length delivery as Hasaranga clears his front foot to hoick but he miscued it down to long-off as Anwar Ali comes around to take a stunner!

Wanindu Hasaranga c Anwar Ali b Nuwan Thushara 29 (15b, 3x4, 2x6)
Nuwan Thushara [3-0-13-2] is back into the attack. He will bowl over the wicket.
Top class over from Anwar Ali - the hard length with pace off is a real win on this surface and hasn't he executed his plans to good effect out there! This is reaching a stage where all that remains are the formalities now. Unless Hasaranga pulls off something spectacular...
124 /7 score
cricket bat icon Wanindu Hasaranga
29 (14)
cricket bat icon Wahab Riaz *
1 (2)
cricket ball icon Anwar Ali
1 /3
15.6 Anwar Ali to Wahab Riaz, short delivery, banged it into the track on the outside off, Riaz on the backfoot went for the heave it into the on-side but misses, dot ball to finish!
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