Twitter Reactions: Galle Gladiators pull off a major heist to kick Colombo Kings out of contention

Twitter Reactions: Galle Gladiators pull off a major heist to kick Colombo Kings out of contention

Despite the middle-phase setbacks, Dhananjaya Lakshan showed an inspirational effort with the bat to bring his team the verge of pulling off a heist.

Dhananjaya Lakshan
Dhananjaya Lakshan. (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

It is slightly strange for a league to have five teams, of which four proceed to the decisive phase. Although, we can give it to Sri Lanka for finding a way to conduct the tournament in a pandemic year. In the first semifinal, the Galle Gladiators must have been gratified with their effort after electing to field first as they contained the Colombo Kings for a modest total of 150.

The Kings did not start too well, as Nuwan Thushara’s slower one to Lahiru Udana ended in the hands of mid-on. Dhananjaya Lakshan then knocked over Dinesh Chandimal (14 from 10) through a ripping inswinger, which swung just enough to penetrate the gap between batsman’s bat and pads. Daniel Bell-Drummond had an eventful outing as he scored almost half the team’s run through his 70 from 53, which included 7 fours and 3 sixes.

Kings’ moderate outing with the bat

As the wickets fell consistently from the one end, Drummond battled through and kept the other end secured. Angelo Mathews, the skipper, struggled for his 6 off 11, before a wider delivery from Lakshan Sandakan led to his end as he miscued a slog to find Shehan Jayasuriya at mid-off. With only 57 in the bank at the half-way mark, the Kings would have wanted Andre Russell to tee off.

Dre Russ made his intentions clear soon, as he slammed a six and four, but a mistimed sweep off Sandakan took his glove, and wicketkeeper Azam Khan did the rest behind the wickets. Thushara and Lakshan got two each, whereas Sandakan grabbed 3 for 32 from his four. Though Isuru Udana swung a couple of lusty blows, the lack of partnerships and consistent falling of wickets never allowed Kings’ innings to get in the fourth gear.

Gladiators’ middle-phase mess up 

Coming to chase a moderate target, Danushka Gunthalika looked in a rush as he slammed three boundaries. Given his blistering and consistent form in the tournament, the team would have wanted him to lead from the front on an important night, although, much to his opponents’ delight, he failed to stick around and swept off Priyanjan straight to Qais Ahmad at deep midwicket. Gladiators soon lost another as Ahsan Ali went for a duck, giving skipper Mathews his first wicket.

At 17 for 2 and in dire need of momentum, skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa took the charge as his 17-ball 33, which included 3 fours and a couple of sixes, which set the ball rolling. Although, he could not stay long enough as he threw his wicket by giving an easy stumping chance to Chandimal. Before him, Azam Khan (21 from 13) showed some intent, however, he could not capitalize on the start either as he fell to Chameera.

Lakshan’s heroics

The match was evenly poised at one stage, although Isuru Udana and Angelo Mathews tightened the noose, and the mounting score-board pressure hurried the Kings’ middle-order. A couple of run-outs – Sahan Arachchige and Shehan Jayasuriya – pushed them into deeper trouble and the Gladiators’ grip loosened further from thereon.

Despite the middle-phase setbacks, Dhananjaya Lakshan showed an inspirational effort with the bat to bring his team on the verge of pulling off a heist. Needing 15 from the last over, Lakshan was dropped on the first ball, which proved fatal for the Kings. He slammed a six on the third and followed it by a four on the penultimate ball of the last over to seal the finale berth for his team.

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