Gunathilaka sends dominant Galle Gladiators sailing into semi-finals

My11Circle Lanka Premier League

Friday, 11 December 2020 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Galle Gladiators opener Danushka Gunathilaka hits a six during his onslaught on the Kandy Tuskers with an outstanding knock of 94 not out at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium yesterday  

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Danushka Gunathilaka, the tournament’s leading run scorer, led a brutal assault on the Kandy Tuskers bowling to score a magnificent 94 not out off 66 balls, and send Galle Gladiators sailing into the semi-finals of the My11Circle Lanka Premier League at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium yesterday.

The most consistent performer in the tournament with 462 runs, Gunathilaka produced another outstanding innings as Galle chased down a rather moderate target of 127 with three overs to spare to win by nine wickets and join Dambulla Viiking, Colombo Kings and Jaffna Stallions in the last four of the competition.

What was supposed to be a crunch game for the fourth spot eventually turned out to be a rather tame affair with one side in total control.

Gunathilaka dominated an opening stand of 101 off 87 balls with Hazratullah Zazai, whose contribution was 20 off 34 balls, to carry Galle to victory striking 12 fours and four sixes to take the Man of the Match award.

To add to Kandy’s woes, they lost their captain and wicket-keeper Kusal Perera, who took a blow to his left knee off a ball from Dale Steyn and had to be stretchered off the field, with Galle needing 48 off 57 balls. Rahmanullah Gurbaz took over the gloves from the injured Perera and Kusal Mendis led the team.

More than Gunathilaka’s innings, it was the rather clinical performance on the field by Galle that saw them outplay a hapless Kandy side for whom nothing went right.

Invited to bat first, Kandy’s batsmen really struggled against Galle’s precision bowling and sharp fielding and never at any time in the match did they look like to be in a dominant position. They were totally outplayed in all departments by a side that looked to be peaking at the right time.

Kandy’s only consolation was Kusal Mendis’ innings of 68 off 42 balls (4 sixes, 6 fours). He was the lone star in an otherwise rather mundane performance from the Kandy outfit who even with a player in the calibre of Dale Steyn in their line-up failed to lift themselves up for this all important contest.

Kandy were pushed onto the back foot as early as the second over by Nuwan Thushara who trapped Kusal Perera lbw for a duck and then added the wicket of his opening partner Rahmanullah Gurbaz to have them struggling at 9-2. They never quite recovered from this initial shock and folded up rather meekly.

Galle lost Thushara’s services at the start of the 13th over when he was forced to leave the field with a knee injury, but his absence had little consequence to his team as Mohammad Amir made amends with a splendid second spell that fetched him two wickets.


Kandy Tuskers 126 (19.1) (Kusal Mendis 68, Brendan Taylor 20, Mohammad Amir 2/11, Nuwan Thushara 2/8, Dhananjaya Lakshan 2/32, Sahan Arachchige 2/24)

Galle Gladiators 130-1 (17) (Danushka Gunathilaka 94 n.o., Hazratullah Zazai 20) 


Galle Gladiators fined for maintaining slow over rate