Kandy Tuskers too strong for Galle Gladiators | Daily News

Kandy Tuskers too strong for Galle Gladiators

Kandy Tuskers proved too strong for Galle Gladiators as they recorded their first victory by 25 runs in Hambantota, on Monday, in the sixth match of the Lanka Premier League Tournament.

Kandy posted 196 for five, a total their bowlers defended by keeping down Galle to 171 for seven in 20 overs. Both teams made two changes in the match, with Kandy Tuskers' Munaf Patel and Brendon Taylor and Galle Gladiators' Akila Dananjaya and Lakshan Sandakan being called up.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who has been successful as an opening batsman in the last two matches, was dismissed early in the Tuskers' innings bowled by Akila Dananjaya in the third over. Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis, who took charge, played key roles in leading the Kandy Tuskers to nearly 200 runs. They were involved in a vital second-wicket partnership of 75 runs off 49 balls; and Tuskers skipper/wicket-keeper Perera made 27, hitting four fours in his 24-ball innings before being bowled by Sandakan. For the second wicket, Kusal Mendis' innings came to an end when Gladiators captain Afridi took a superb catch at mid wicket. Mendis scored 49 off 30 balls before being caught the next ball off Sandakan, who managed to get rid of the Kusal pair within nine runs.

Former Zimbabwe Captain Brendan Taylor, playing his first innings of the tournament coming in to bat at no. four made the Tuskers' only half-century by scoring an unbeaten 51 off 35 balls with Kamindu Mendis, striking 28 off 16 deliveries in a 65-run stand with Taylor.

Taylor has played 31 Tests, 199 ODIs, and 43 T20Is for Zimbabwe, but has never been to Sri Lanka. Although he did not have the opportunity to attend a single training session after returning to Sri Lanka, the management took steps to give him confidence to play the match.

None of the notable batsmen except Danushka Gunathilaka managed to cross the 20-run mark. Danushka scored 82 off 53 balls with 13 fours and one six. 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 looking for a non-existent single. But the Gladiators were dealt their biggest blow in the chase when skipper Shahid Afridi drove the first ball he faced to be caught at extra cover off Seekkuge Prasanna.

For the Kandy Tuskers, Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera and slow bowler Asela Gunaratne delivered tight spells, with Nuwan Pradeep and Naveen-ul-Haq contributing with competent seam bowling. Gladiators fell 25 runs short and now remain the only side in the tournament who have not yet won a match.

"I had a lot of energy from lying down for five days in quarantine. I generally try to give myself a few balls and gauge where the field is at before trying a reverse sweep, but with point up and slip, I thought I'd try it first ball. It worked well today. My power game was a bit off, so tried to find other ways to nudge it around. The pitch definitely favours batters, but with the skills our bowlers have, I think we can get some momentum," Man-of-the-Match Taylor said.

Chief scores:

Kandy Tuskers: 196/5 in 20 overs (Kusal Perera 27, Kusal Mendis 49, Brendan Taylor 51 n.o, Kamindu Mendis 28, Lakshan Sandakan 2/41)

Galle Gladiators: 171/7 in 20 overs (Danushka Gunathilaka 82)