Gunaratne 52* trumps Malik 59 as KT gets 2nd win

Asela Gunaratne 52 not out has given hopes to Kandy Tuskers as they win one of the last two remaining matches. As things are now heating up for the fourth and final place for the semifinals, Kandy Tuskers have now one match left which they need to win at any cost. After the table-toppers, Jaffna Stallions posted a total of 150 on the back of Shoaib Malik’s 59. After stumbling early in the chase, Tuskers, in the end, won the match easily in the final over.

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The 16th match of the Lanka Premier League had the table-toppers, Jaffna Stallions and Kandy Tuskers up in front. Tuskers in need of a desperate win was eventually able to beat the Stallions by six wickets. Asela Gunaratne and Irfan Pathan remained unbeaten as they took their team home and keep the hopes alive.

Jaffna Stallions innings – Tuskers bowlers keep it tight

Jaffna Stallions winning the toss and opting to bat first as they have already qualified for the semifinals. Not the best of the starts for the table-toppers, Avishka Fernando was on his way back to the pavilion on the second ball of the innings. Dale Steyn had the better of Fernando as he edges a late-swing delivery into the safe hands of Kusal Perera.

Establishing the innings, the team was going pretty well but two wickets in the back-to-back overs further pegged back the innings. The 3rd wicket fell in the 5th over.

Shoaib Malik top-scored for Stallions with 59 runs

Stabling the innings further, the most experienced batsmen of the team, Shoaib Malik came to the crease with things to fix. Combining with Minod Bhanuka. Scoring a 57-run partnership for the fourth wicket, the team went back on track but as the team was looking for a high-finish, further wickets dent the innings.

Losing the 4th wicket for 101 runs and losing the 6th wicket for 106 runs.

Malik’s 59 runs took the team score to 150 in their 20 overs. Final score, 150 runs and all wickets lost.

It was a pretty decent outing for the Kandy Tuskers bowlers, picking up wickets. Asela Gunaratne was the most economical bowler picking up two wickets for 21 runs. Dale Steyn and Vishwa Fernando picked up two wickets while Nuwan Pradeep picked up three wickets.

Kandy Tuskers innings – Gunaratne keeps the hopes alive

Not a big target to chase. Tuskers need to win to keep the hopes alive. The opening combination has worked pretty well so far for the team and once again Rahmanulla Gurbaz and Kusal Perera combined for the team.

Once again got the brisk opening start but could not carry on. Gurbaz was dismissed on 8 in the 2nd over. Perera was the aggressor for the major part of the powerplay. Tuskers further lost two wickets in the powerplay and the score reached 44-3 in six overs.

Brendan Taylor, who was one of the late signings for the tournament was the wicket to fell on the final ball of the powerplay.

Asela Gunaratne and Irfan Pathan steered the team to victory

Perera and Asela Gunaratne then combined to take the team towards the total. An important match to win for the Kandy Tuskers as they are looking to become the fourth team to qualify for the semifinals.

The pair scored 50-run partnership and as soon as they scored, Perera fell in the 14th over. Wanindu Hasaranga got the captain and the score was limited to 95-4 in 13.2 overs.

Irfan Pathan, who had a wondrous outing in the LPL now joined Gunaratne. Still needing 56 runs to win the game, the pair started their partnership and took their team home without any further loss.

Gunaratne scored unbeaten 52 runs off 37 balls that included five 4s and one six while Pathan was also remained not out on 25 runs including four 4s.

Wanindu Hasaranga picked up two wickets for 23 runs in his quota of four overs.

Asela Gunaratne was the man of the match for his unbeaten 52 runs off 37 balls.

Man of the Match: Asela Gunaratne

Result: Kandy Tuskers win by 6 wickets

Points: Kandy Tuskers 2, Jaffna Stallions 0