A superb 64-ball century by Avishka Fernando and a quick-fire half-ton by Afghanistan’s wicketkeeper-batter Rahmanullah Gurbaz (70 off 40 balls) helped Jaffna Kings score a convincing 23-run win over Dambulla Giants in Qualifier 2 and secure a final berth in the Lanka Premier League here.
Jaffna Kings will take on Galle Gladiators in the title clash on December 23.
In a high-scoring game, the Kings posted an imposing 210/4 thanks to the pyrotechnics of the openers, who blasted 15 boundaries and eight sixes among them and had strike rates in excess of 155. The Kings then restricted the Giants to 187/9 in their 20 overs.
Young West Indian Jayden Seales was the pick of the bowlers for the Kings with figures of 3/24.
Philip Salt and skipper Niroshan Dickwella got the Giants off to a fine start with an opening partnership of 39 runs in 3.3 overs. However, after Suranga Lakmal dismissed Salt, the Giants kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Chamika Karunaratne played an unbeaten innings of 75 from 47 balls, but he didn’t find support from the other end as the Giants eventually fell short of the target.
Earlier, the Kings’ opening batters, Fernando and Gurbaz, put up an opening stand of 122 runs in 13.2 overs.
Brief scores: Jaffna Kings 210 for 4 in 20 overs (Avishka Fernando 100, Rahmanullah Gurbaz 70) beat Dambulla Giants 187 for 9 in 20 overs (Chamika Karunaratne 75 not out; Jayden Seales 3/24) by 23 runs.