Kusal Perera’s century in vain as Jaffna Kings edge past Dambulla Sixers

PALLEKELE: Kusal Perera’s unbeaten century went in vain as Avishka Fernando and Charith Asalanka scored quick half-centuries to guide Jaffna Kings to a thrilling victory over Dambulla Sixers in the Lanka Premier League (LPL) 2024 clash here on Wednesday.

Jaffna Kings registered their first victory in the LPL 2024 and jumped to the second spot in the points table with two points from two games. Meanwhile, the Dambulla Sixers are lying at the bottom of the points table with two losses in two games.

Set to chase 192, Pathum Nissanka (27) gave Jaffna Kings a stable start with a 30-run opening stand with Kusal Mendis (6).

However, Dambulla Sixers halted their progress with three wickets in quick succession, reducing the Kings to 36-3 in 5.2 overs.

Avishka Fernando and Charith Asalanka then joined hands to take their team out of trouble with a fiery partnership of 134 runs for the fourth wicket in only 66 balls.

Fernando wreaked havoc against Dambulla Sixers’ bowlers, while Asalanka played an anchor role before switching gears in the 15th over when he struck four consecutive sixes off Nimesh Vimukthi.

Mustafizur Rahman broke the partnership in the 17th over as he removed Asalanka, who scored a 36-ball 50, laced with for boundaries and four sixes.

Fernando also followed suit in the next over as Nuwan Thushara after scoring 80 runs from 34 balls with the help of seven boundaries and six sixes.

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With 15 required off two overs, Jaffna Kings chased the target on the final ball with Fabian Allen hitting a six off Vimukthi.

For the Sixers, Thushara and Rahman claimed two wickets each, while Mohammad Nabi bagged one.

Earlier, Dambulla Sixers were invited to bat first and lost opening batter Danushka Gunathilaka (9) in the fourth over with 18 runs on the board.

However, the Kings had to wait for more than ten overs for the second wicket as Kusal Perera and Nuwanidu Fernando raised a solid partnership of 108 runs.

Perera dominated the partnership with 64 runs from 29 balls, while Fernando scored an anchoring 40 off 35 balls before falling to Dhananjaya de Silva.

Mark Chapman joined Perera and both batters continued at the same pace to help their team finish at 191-2 in their allocated 20 overs.

Perera scored his maiden century in T20 cricket as he remained unbeaten at 102 from 52 balls, featuring ten boundaries and five sixes. Meanwhile, Chapman scored 33* off 23 with four boundaries, including one six.

Dhananjaya de Silva remained the sole wicket-taker for Jaffna Kings with two wickets.

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