Jaffna Kings walks to final amidst rain

Vijayakanth Viyaskanth picked up three top-order wickets
Vijayakanth Viyaskanth picked up three top-order wickets


Jaffna Kings’ spinner Vijayakanth Viyaskanth ended with fine figures of 3 for 30 as they won by 24 runs according to the (D/L method) over Kandy Falcons in their rain-hit qualifier 1 LPL match played at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday.

Table leaders Kandy Falcons led by Wanindu Hasaranga chose to bat first. However, their plans did not pan out properly, piling on 143 for 8 wickets in 20 overs. During the chase, Jaffna Kings were 98 for 3 after 11 overs when the game was interrupted by rain.

The two umpires, Kumara Dharmasena and Ruchira Palliyaguruge, called off the game at 6.51pm and Jaffna Kings were well ahead to win the game. Jaffna had only needed 74 runs as they led with 24 runs from the required runs.

Jaffna directly qualified for the final which is due on Friday (23) while Kandy Falcons will have the chance to secure their spot in the next Second Qualifier game against the winners of the eliminator match between Galle Gladiators and Colombo Stars today (22) at 7.30 pm.

In the First Qualifier game, 21-year-old former Jaffna Central College leg spinner Vijayakanth took major honours when he picked up the Man of the Match award. He seized his first wicket by bowling Kandy opener Pathum Nissanka for 35 (31 balls with 5 fours) while in-form two Kandy batsmen Kamindu Mendis who scored 26 in 21 balls and Ashen Bandara with a 13-ball 13 runs were his other two victims.

Maheesh Theekshana the mystery spinner played a good supporting role to pick up 2 for 24.

Jaffna Kings openers Rahmanullah Gurbaz (10) and Avishka Fernando (21) added 27 runs in just 1.5 overs while Sadeera Samarawickrama (15 in 15 balls) and young Dunith Wellalage (19 in 23 balls) were defending the wicket when rain struck.

The paceman Carlos Brathwaite took 2 for 32 while Chamika Karunaratne picked the wicket of Afif Hossain with a good return catch. Vijayakanth Vayaskanth said: “I practiced hard to produce my results. I was in England partaking in League cricket which allowed me to gain good exposure before the LPL and that gave me a big boost to bowl well. In Jaffna, we didn’t have the luxury of practicing on a proper turf wicket but the lack of facilities never obstructed my career.”

Chief scores:

Kandy Falcons: 143 for 8 wickets in 20 overs (Pathum Nissanka 35, Kamindu Mendis 26, Ashen Bandara 13, Najibullah Zadran 22, Carlos Brathwaite 12, Chamika Karunaratne 14*, Thisara Perera 1/17, Binura Fernando 1/23, Zaman Khan 1/31, Maheesh Theekshana 2/24, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth 3/30)

Jaffna Kings: 98 for 3 wickets in 11 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 10, Avishka Fernando 21, Afif Hossain 14, Sadeera Samarawickrama 15*, Dunith Wellalage 19*, Carlos Brathwaite 2/32, Chamika Karunaratne 1/15)