LPL: Jaffna Kings make it to playoffs after crushing Dambulla Giants

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Thisara Perera’s Jaffna Kings continued their domination of the Lanka Premier League (LPL), crushing Dambulla Giants by seven wickets to notch their fifth successive triumph at the R. Premadasa Stadium.

With the win, the Jaffna Kings confirmed a spot in the playoffs on Monday evening.

After winning the toss and electing to bowl, the Kings bundled out Dambulla Giants for 69 with Chaturanga de Silva coming to the party, picking up four wickets for 16 runs.

Perera’s decision to bowl on a spinning track proved to be the correct one as off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana gave early blows to Dambulla Giants, dismissing Niroshan Dickwella and Sohaib Maqsood in the first over itself.

In his next over, Theekshana dismissed Nuwanidu Fernando for two runs, forcing the Giants on the backfoot.

Later, De Silva’s magical spell began, as he cleaned up the Giants’ middle-order in quick succession. Philip Salt, who was the only one who showed a bit of resistance, was dismissed by star spinner Wanindu Hasaranga for 23 runs as the Giants were bowled out in just 14.1 overs, setting up a meagre total for the Kings to chase.

Jaffna Kings lost Upul Tharanga early on, but the side made a surprise call, promoting Wanindu Hasaranga to bat at No.3. The pinch-hitter rose to be the hero of the day as he bludgeoned an 18-ball 37 to set the tempo in the victory charge.

Avishka Fernando also belted the bowling, scoring 22 runs in 17 balls with a six and two fours in his innings, making short work of the target. The game came to a close as hard-hitting opening batsman Fernando slammed the second delivery of the ninth over by Ramesh Mendis over mid-wicket for a six, finishing off the chase in style.

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