Zimbabwean Brendan Taylor playing his first match for Kandy Tuskers, swept his way to a fifty and in the process went on to help his side record their first victory over Galle Gladiators by 25 runs in Lanka Premier League T20 Tournament, currently being worked off at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Sooriyawewa, Hambantota.
The Kandy Tuskers despite having quality international match winning stars, such as Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis in their side, were yet unable to register a win in the two encounters they had played so far, in this five team tournament.
The Tuskers had desperately been on the lookout for anyone, be it even a Tinker, a Tailor, a Soldier or a Spy who could help them secure that elusive first win.
They seemed to have finally got it right, when they picked a 'Taylor' with the letter 'y' in his name instead of the letter 'i', but someone who certainly had an eye for reading a game's situations extremely very well.
With 'Boom Boom' Afridi already on the field and skippering the opposition, out strutted the East African 'Broom Broom' Taylor to join the party, with a piece of willow tucked under his arm.
His intentions may have been to use his willow as a bat, but the situation of the game at that stage demanded that he use it as a broom instead.
Taylor reverse swept the very first ball he faced, bowled by Lakshan Sandakan for four and soon thereafter went on to use the traditional sweep more often than not, during his 35 ball knock.
He hit seven fours in total and thumped one over the ropes.
The former Zimbabwe skipper Brendan Taylor demonstrated his skills and experience in helping his side register a score of respectability first, before they could focus on defending it and winning the game next.
Earlier in the innings Rahmanullah Gulbaz and Kusal Perera started off briskly.
The 19 year old Kandy Tuskers' opener Gulbaz, after thumping Akila Dananjaya for two consecutive sixes off the first and second ball in the 3rd over, went for another big hit in the next.
What Gulbaz failed to realize was that he was taking on a bowler who had bamboozled many top ranked international batsmen before him in the past.
The wily off spinner Akila Dananjaya used his experience and gave it more flight to drop his next delivery a tad shorter, pitching slightly further to the off and at a slower pace.
Gulbaz, trying to go for glory, only ended up spooning the ball to his fellow Afghanistan countryman Hazratullah Zazai fielding at point.
An interesting partnership between the two Kusals then blossomed.
A brisk stand that yielded 75 runs off 43 balls was a delight to watch, as the right hand left hand combination began to dominate, averaging almost 10 runs per over.
Lakshan Sandakan the left arm Chinaman was not pleased with this partnership and soon began crafting his artistry, spinning his wily spinners turning them both from left to right and then from right to left.
A top spinner, a flipper, a googly and a chinaman, he tried them all and finally got rid of them both.
Kusal Perera was the first to go when he holed out to Danushka Gunatilaka at Long Off in the 10th over.
It was a good catch, but more an indication as to why Danushka Gunatilaka is such a brilliant fielder. He anticipated well and read its trajectory, ran in a few steps to meet the ball before the ball could meet him. He took it comfortably even though it began to swirl from his left to right.
In the bowler’s next over, he induced Kusal Mendis to hit one hard, straight down Skipper Afridi’s throat at short mid-wicket.
Thereafter Brendan Taylor found a valuable partner in Kamindu Mendis and the two of them put on an invaluable 67 runs off 33 balls, before Mendis departed after scoring a useful 28 runs scored off 16 deliveries.
The Tuskers eventually wrapped their innings at 196/5 with Taylor reaching his 50 off 33 balls.
The Galle Gladiators in their pursuit lost Hazratullah Zazai in the 4th ball of the 1st over bowled by indian pacie Munaf Patel and never got going thereafter.
They lost half their side even before nine overs could have been bowled, with only their opener Danushka Gunatilaka the one man left standing and giving his team a semblance of hope.
Danushka Gunatilaka at this stage was more like Tom Hanks, who played the lead role in the movie Cast Away, with the batsman hoping against all hope to find a useful partner to maintain his team's survival in this game.
A partner then soon arrived in the guise of Shehan Jayasuriya, who supported Gunatilaka in providing the total some much needed impetus and team some hope.
With Jayasuriya's dismissal in the 16th over and with the score on 138, the Galle Gladiators hopes began to fade.
Gunatilaka gave it his all thereafter and in fact ended running himself out in his quest to get back for a second run and retain the strike.
This was midway in the 18th over and with it, the curtains began to fall on yet another loss for the Galle Gladiators' side.
The Galle Gladiators finally ended on 171 for 7 in their allotted 20 overs and fell short by 25 runs and with it another lost opportunity to secure their first win in the tournament.
Brendan Taylor of the Kandy Tuskers Team was adjudged the Man of the Match.