Stallion Avishka gallops over Gladiators | Sunday Observer

Stallion Avishka gallops over Gladiators

29 November, 2020
Avishka Fernando during his half century
Avishka Fernando during his half century

Avishka Fernando fell short of reaching a hundred by his unbeaten knock of 92 was enough to steer the Jaffna Stallions to victory over the Galle Gladiators in their LPL match at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota on Friday night.

Fernando made his 92 in just 63 balls as he hammered the bowlers to all parts of the ground while the Jaffna Stallions reached their 176 target with three ball to spare.

Earlier the Jaffna Stallions slowed Galle Gladiators down after the Gladiators got a decent start with the bat as spinner Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva applied the breaks.

With the bat, the Stallions were measured but insistent, never allowing the required rate to get very high, even when Avishka Fernando - their star local batsman - was struggling early on. Part of the refusal to panic, was perhaps grounded on the knowledge that 176 was gettable on a fast outfield that was increasingly being slicked by dew.

Avishka recovered from a score of 10 off 20 at the end of the seventh over, to hit seven sixes and finish on 92 not out off 63. At the other end, Shoaib Malik - the most experienced T20 players just kept turning the strike over to Avishka who hit 74 off 40 balls at one stage.

What was most impressive about the Stallions’ win, was that they didn’t need to use their depth. Dhananjaya de Silva was not required with bat or ball and Thisara Perera’s batting went unused as well. Even Malik, who did actually bat, never saw it necessary to move out of third gear.

Hasaranga’s 2 for 12 off four overs headlined a solid Stallions bowling effort, for the team which - at least on paper - seems to have the best attack in the competition. One of their overseas bowlers - Kyle Abbott - had an expensive start to the tournament, but Hasaranga’s control allowed Stallions the leeway to have a few bad overs. He also took the wickets of Azam Khan and Danushka Gunathilaka.

On the fast-bowling front Duanne Olivier - the quickest on show in this match - took 4 for 44 from his four overs.

The Gladiators would barely have been competitive if not for Afridi. He came to the crease with the Gladiators struggling at 92 for four after 13.1 overs, and bashed six sixes - four of them off a single Olivier over - to complete a 20-ball fifty and propel the Gladiators to a decent score.