Janith Liyanage made a fighting unbeaten knock of 56 in 47 balls (five fours) as Dambulla Giants defeated Colombo Stars by six wickets in the LPL eliminator game played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota yesterday.
Nuwan Pradeep of Dambulla Giants in action
Dambulla Giants chased a target of 145 and reached their required runs in seven balls with six wickets in hand and they made it fighting style. The stand-in skipper Niroshan Dikwella (Dasun Shanaka out of the game due to injury) was out for a duck in the very first over bowled by Dushmantha Chameera with a tough return catch, but Liyanage and Najibullah Zadran repaired the Innings with rotating strike and Colombo Stars bowlers in more pressure.
The 26-year-old right-hander Liyanage, hitting his second fifty of the game, paved the way to get Giants to an important win. They will meet in the qualifier 2 game tomorrow with the losing team of the match between Jaffna Kings and Galle Gladiators qualifier one game. Liyanage and Najibullah Zadran added a match-winning combination of 61 runs for the fourth wicket while Zadran made a good supporting role to get 34 in 28 balls hit one four and 2 sixes. Liyanage was named Man of the Match.
Earlier, Colombo Stars, choosing to bat first, their openers Kusal Janith Perera and Tom Banton were unable to make a good start with Nuwan Pradeep made an early breakthrough to depart Perera in second over while Chamika Karunaratne took a catch at mid-on to dismiss Perera which was the vital wicket for Giants as Perera was in good tough scoring fifty in the previous game. The pressure was built up with Banton who was back to the pavilion with a run out in the sixth over.
However, Pathum Nissanka who scored 42 in 39 balls (4 fours) and Dhananjaya de Silva hit 15 in 11 balls with 2 boundaries added 42 runs to the third wicket and later skipper Angelo Matthews made good finishing touches with an unbeaten 50 in 34 balls striking 4 boundaries and 2 sixes paved the way to build up their innings. However, Seekkuge Prasanna who came ahead of inform batter Dinesh Chandimal was not a success for Colombo Stars to increase their total while Prasanna was out for 7 in 11 overs and Nuwan Pradeep struck to depart dangerous stroke maker Prasanna. The paceman Nuwan Pradeep and experience leg spinner Imran Thahir took two wickets each for Giants.
Colombo Stars: 145/6 in 20 overs (Tom Banton 13, Pathum Nissanka 42, Dhananjaya de Silva 15, Angelo Mathews 50*, Karim Janet 11*, Nuwan Pradeep 2/23, Imran Thahir 2/25)
Dambulla Giants: 146/4 wickets in 18.5 overs (Phil Salt 32, Sadun Weerakkody 10, Janith Liyanage 56* Najibullah Zadran 34, Chamika Karunaratne 10*)