Colombo Kings pulled off a sensational 5 run win over the Kandy Tuskers in the Super Over, in what turned out to be a high scoring thriller, in the inaugural Lanka Premier League T20 Tournament which kicked off on Thursday 26th November 2020, at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium at Hambantota.
Sri Lankan cricket fans that had been left starving for much needed cricket due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic were treated to a spectacle, as 438 runs were scored in 40 overs between the two sides up until the scores were tied.
Kandy Tuskers taking first lease of the wicket reached 219 runs for the loss of 3 wickets, whilst Colombo Kings spurred on by Isuru Udana, who pummeled two back to back sixes in scoring 20 runs in the final over, also reached the identical score albeit losing 7 wickets.
Colombo Kings batting second time around in the super over, thumped 16 runs courtesy a six and a four from Andre Russell to set up an interesting finish.
However the Kandy Tuskers two openers Kusal Perera and Afghani teenager Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who gave them a blazing start earlier in the day by putting on 71 runs in 5.4 overs, could only muster 11 runs in their losing chase.
At the commencement of the game, the Kandy Tuskers who got off to a stellar start courtesy their openers were also ably assisted by Kusal Mendis and Asela Gunaratne who chipped in with useful scores of thirties plus runs to help swell their total to somewhat a safe zone.
Gurbaz the aggressor thumped 57 runs off 23 balls which contained 6 fours and 4 sixes. Kusal Perera on the other hand who played second fiddle to his opener eventually got out for 87 runs. His knock contained 9 sweetly timed fours and 4 majestic hits over the ropes.
However, Kandy Tuskers had no one to blame for their loss but themselves, as their fielding in the latter part of the game-chase were way below elementary standards.
If "Butter Fingers" were a name of a dish, then both Afghani Naveeni Ul Haq and Kusal Mendis would be fighting for bragging rights for creating the dish.
Naveen incidentally dropped two sitters, both off Dinesh Chandimal. The first which was in the second over even before the batsmen could get to double figures, eventually saw the stylish Sri Lankan batsman go on to score a majestic knock of 80 runs which helped him secure the Man of the Match prize.
On the other hand Kusal Mendis' simple drop of Isuru Udana, eventually ended up being the game changing moment, as Clombo Kings who were tottering at that stage saw their champion all-rounder go on to score the much needed runs with the tail to tie the game.
It was Udana himself who eventually came back on to bowl and defend the 16 runs for his Colombo Kings side, in what turned out to be an amazing game of cricket in the curtain raiser of this much anticipated LPL T20 Tournament.
Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it is remarkable to note that much planning and execution had been done to get this tournament off the ground.
Due credit should go to the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Hon. Namal Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka Cricket President Shammi Silva and his team of SLC Officials and also the Ministry of Health for providing all the support and guidelines to have this tournament conducted in a safe manner.
Incidentally just prior to this game, in somewhat of a global cricketing first, the LPL T20 Opening Ceremony was conducted using a spectacular virtual platform.
Photo Credits: LPL Lanka Premier League