Everything that the Jaffna Stallions' Skipper Thisara Perera touched last night turned to gold, as he once again led his team to a comfortable 54 run victory over the Kandy Tuskers, in the Lanka Premier League T20 Tournament played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Sooriyawewa, Hambantota on 1st December 2020.
Affectionately known as 'Panda' to his fellow cricketing buddies, the burly Sri Lankan who bats left and bowls right and who is perhaps the only player even in the national side to match West Indian Andre Russell's brute power and clout, yet again proved that he considers the Hambantota Stadium like his very own backyard.
If his previous night's knock of 97 not out off 44 balls was a flash in the pan, then this innings certainly eliminated any doubts that perhaps were in the minds of his critics.
He joined one drop batsman Dananjaya De Silva at the crease, when his team was precariously placed at 42 for 4 in the 10th over of the innings and almost immediately went on the rampage to save his team any blushes and also prove what he is best renowned for.
It was up until that point that the Kandy Tuskers had controlled proceedings, as they delivered the majority of their 43 dot balls bowled in the innings during this phase of the game.
The Kandy Tuskers perhaps felt there was a glimmer of hope and light at the end of the tunnel at that point in securing their second win after losing their first two games played.
However little did they realize that that light that they saw at the end of the tunnel was in fact an oncoming train, in the form of the Jaffna Stallions’ skipper in Panda walking in.
Thisara Perera swiveled and shuffled and smacked boundaries at will, but most importantly proved that his tummy tucked still.
This was perhaps to prove a point to his former Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara, that he was completely wrong to have once ridiculed him, saying that his tummy was hindering his performance.
However the highlight of his knock, is where he went on to inspire and even transform his more technically correct batting partner Dananjaya De Silva, into being a master blaster himself during this partnership.
The pair was at one point smacking it at will and both sitting on identical scores of 61 each, with obviously only the number of balls faced favoring Thisara Perera.
Their mind boggling stand yielded a total of 118 runs smacked off a mere 7.5 overs, where they thumped five sixes apiece, with Thisara outdoing him in the boundary column by 5 fours to 3.
The Jaffna Stallions eventually ended their innings at 185 for 8 in their allotted 20 overs.
The Kandy Tuskers in their chase lost both their firebrand openers Kusal Perera and Rahmanullah Gulbaz, even before the third over was completed and from there onward they were staring down an empty barrel.
Beside Kusal Mendis who stroked 20 and Asela Gunaratne 21, it was only the Zimbabwean "Broom Broom" Brendan Taylor, who once again used his willow to sweep three superb sixes on the leg side in scoring 46 runs, who got into double figures.
It was one of those nights, where whatever Thisara Perera did just could not go wrong, as he also went on to take two wickets and three catches to thwart any hope that the Tuskers may have had in pulling off a win.
The run chase was never on and the Kandy Tuskers succumbed to their third defeat in four games played, whilst the Jaffna Stallions continued to head the points table, winning three out of three matches in the games they played so far.
Thisara Perera was adjudged Man of the Match.