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B-Love Kandy defeated Dambulla Aura in Colombo to lift the Lanka Premier League title for the first time, somewhat against the odds after talismanic skipper Wanindu Hasaranga was cruelly ruled out of the final. He picked up an injury during a player of the match display the night before as they defeated Galle Titans to reach the final.

Sri Lanka national cricket team player Hasaranga was confident of playing the final as he spoke in the aftermath of that win but he didn’t make the less than 24 hour turnaround. He would have been delighted to see stand-in captain in his absence Angelo Mathews guide his team home with an assured 25 not out. Mathews acknowledged the contribution of Hasaranga in the aftermatch presentation “It was a bad day Wanindu who single handedly brought us to the final, so we had to play well for him”. Hasarnga was named player of the tournament in that presentation.

Dambulla Step Up To The Crease First

Dambulla batted first and lost key opener Avishka Fernando cheaply. They struggled throughout to add real momentum without losing many wickets. Dhananjaya de Silva top scored with 40 from 29 balls. Captain Kusal Mendis was critical of the pitch produced for the final but even with that in mind 147 for 4 looked a little under par. Chaturanga de Silva was best with the ball for Kandy taking 2 for 25 from his four overs.

Kandy Hold Their Nerve In The Final

Chasing in a final always comes with added pressure but Kandy just about held their nerve, however Dambulla’s bowlers battled hard for an unlikely victory. Openers Mohammad Harris and Kamindu Mendis provided an ideal platform adding 49 for the first wicket in 6.3 overs before Haris became the first of Noor Ahmad’s 3 wickets. The Afghanistan national cricket team left arm wrist spinner also dismissed Mendis with the score on 94. Then after Dinish Chamdimal fell for 24, then Ahmad got rid of de Silva for a four ball duck Dambulla would have felt right back in the contest with Kandy now needing 41 from 26 balls.

6 Required In Tense Last Over

The scene was set for a cool and experienced head to take charge of the situation and Mathews was just the man for this occasion. Asif Ali chipped in with a useful 19 from just 10 balls. He fell with 16 needed from the final ten balls with Mathews crucially playing two glorious shots for four from the fourth and fifth balls of the 19th over to leave 6 required from the 20th.

With the scores level and two balls remaining Lahiru Madushanka topped edged a Promod Madushan bouncer to the boundary for four to see Kandy home by five wickets to become the first victors in the Lankan Premier League outside of Jaffna Kings who had lifted the crown on the the three previous occasions the tournament had been contested.

Final Result

B-Love Kandy 151 for 5 (19.5 overs, Mendis 44, Noor Ahmad 3-25) beat Dambulla Aura 147 for 4 (20 overs, de Silva 40, Samarawickrama 36, de Silva 2-25) by 5 wickets.