Not often in a league, one sees a titular clash between teams that finish third and fourth on the table. However, it was these two teams who fought out for glory in the final of the inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) 2020. And quite evidently, it was Jaffna Stallions, who were the superior side. Electing to bat first, they were provided a solid start by openers – Avishka Fernando (27 from 23) and their protagonist from the semifinal, Johnson Charles (26 from 15).
The only passage of play where the Galle Gladiators were able to make their presence felt was the middle-phase, where they got two quicks wickets – Charith Asalanka thick-edged one of Sandakan to Danushka Gunathilaka at backward point and Fernando skied a slog straight to Shehan Jayasuriya at deep midwicket off Sahan Arachchige.
Dhananjaya de Silva and Shoaib Malik, however, rebuilt the innings in some style as they counterattacked the opponents. While Malik slammed three boundaries and a six in his 35-ball 46, de Silva got a couple of fours and as many sixes during his cameo of 33.
A brutal, power-packed assault towards the end was the punch that the team required to take their total towards the correct mark, and skipper Thisara Perera’s 39 from 14, which included five boundaries and two sixes, did exactly that as Stallions set a 189 for Gladiators to win.
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Galle Gladiators’ horrific start
Chasing over nine an over in a tense clash was never an easy task, and the Gladiators further messed it up as they lost their top three batsmen within the first two overs. Hazratullah Zaizai (0 from 2) holed straight to Fernando off Dhananjaya de Silva as early as the third ball of his team’s response, whereas Gunathilaka – tournament’s most prolific run-scorer – was run out after a mid-pitch collision with Suranga Lakmal, when he was at 1.
Lakmal then struck to get rid of Azhar Ali, who was defeated by the extra bounce and edged one to the wicketkeeper, to leave his team 7 for 3. After a rather shambolic start, some knocks of substance came from skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa (40 from just 17) and Azam Khan (36 from 17) as they played with intent, although their efforts alone could have never sufficed in a 189-run chase.
Once they were dismissed, the already dimmed hopes for the team died completely as the opponents went on to clinch the game by a massive margin of 53 runs.
Here’s how Twitter reacted:
Yet another T20 title for Shoaib Malik in Lanka Premier League ! Took 2 crucial wickets and a catch and helped Jaffna Stallions to win ! Declared as Man Of The Match ! Even at this stage he's setting records ! Brilliant @realshoaibmalik @MirzaSania …🔥❤#LPL2020 #ShoaibMalik pic.twitter.com/kVDQDYfc2X
— Laiba Khan (@TheLaibaKhan) December 17, 2020
JAFFNA STALLIONS WON WOOHOO
— ChristmasChill❄ (@DoodChillBro) December 17, 2020
— Adnan Chishti 🇵🇰 (@IamAdnanchishti) December 17, 2020
Player of The Tournament – Wanindu Hasaranga.
Dhananjaya Lakshan – Awarded the 'Emerging Player of The Tournament'
— BIG FAN OF CRICKET (@AhmadBaheer3) December 17, 2020
Congratulations Shoaib Malik
— Abdul Aziz – Noman (@nomanaziz83) December 17, 2020
Jaffna Stallion won🎆🎉🏏 the LPL 20🏆 Final. Shoaib Malik young and superb Man of the Match🎊👏💐. Shoaib Malik the Man in Form.
— Mudassir Hussain 🇵🇰🏏 (@Mudassi81702841) December 17, 2020
Man for the big Ocassions.
Man of the match in Lankan Premier league Final.
SHOAIB MALIK ♥️🔥. pic.twitter.com/65D6Pu6j8T
— Adeel pendu (@Adeel04642766) December 17, 2020
— دیسی فلاسفر (@dFilosfer) December 17, 2020
Anyway well played Stallions #Vaadamachan
— Jaffna Stallions Fans (@JaffnaFanAcc) December 17, 2020
Congratulations #JaffnaStallions 😃🍻
— Randika.I™ (@Twin_Malli) December 17, 2020
jaffna Stallions boys celebrating after the victory. 🏆 pic.twitter.com/0ktpv8S42R
— C H I K U U 💔 (@Aruna_____) December 17, 2020
— Muhammad_Hassaan_Here (@HereHassaan) December 17, 2020
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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