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B-Love Kandy crush Dambulla Aura to win maiden LPL title

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COLOMBO: A combined effort from the bowlers, followed by Kamindu Mendis’s brilliant 44-run knock led B-Love Kandy to thump Dambulla Aura by five wickets to win the Lanka Premier League (LPL) 2023 title.

In a rematch of the two top-placed sides in the LPL 2023 final, B-Love Kandy emerged victorious despite missing their in-form skipper Wanindu Hasaranga — the leading run-scorer and wicket-taker of the tournament.

The table-toppers Dambulla Aura won the toss and opted to bat first.

However, their batting lineup failed to justify the decision of batting first and could pile a modest total of 147/4 in 20 overs against B-Love Kandy bowling attack, which lacked Hasaranga.

The Aura had a dismal start to their innings as Nuwan Pradeep dismissed Avishka Fernando (5) cheaply with just 11 runs on the board in the third over.

Following an early blow, Sadeera Samarawickrama joined his captain Kusal Mendis in the middle and launched recovery.

The pair added 57 runs to the total but remained a touch too slow in the processing.

Dambulla Aura, in dire need of some big hits, sustained a massive blow as both set batters Samarawickrama and Mendis perished in quick succession, leaving them reeling at 71/3 in 10.5 overs.

Samarawickrama scored 36 from 30 balls, hitting five boundaries, while Mendis scored a scratchy 23-ball 22 and could hit three boundaries.

Following the slump, Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Perera stood out for Dambulla Aura and launched a counterattack on B-Love Kandy.

The pair put on a vital 73-run stand for the fourth wicket and scored at a decent pace before Mohammad Hasnain removed the core aggressor de Silva.

He smashed three sixes on his way to top score for Dambulla Aura with a 29-ball 40.

Perera, on the other hand, carried his bat all the way through with a 25-ball 31 which featured two boundaries and a six.

For B-Love Kandy, Chaturanga de Silva bagged two wickets while Hasnain and Pradeep made one scalp each.

Chasing 148, B-Love Kandy completed the pursuit on the penultimate delivery when Lahiru Madushanka (5* off three) hit a match-winning boundary.

B-Love Kandy openers Mohammad Haris and Kamindu Mendis laid a solid foundation for the run chase with a brilliant 49-run stand.

The pair batted sensibly before Noor Ahmad drew a much-needed breakthrough for Dambulla Aura by castling Haris in the seventh over.

The opening batter scored 26 off 22 deliveries, smashing three boundaries and a six.

Meanwhile, Mendis stood his ground firm and put on another important partnership for B-Love Kandy as he shared a 45-run stand with Dinesh Chandimal before perishing in the 13th over when his side needed a further 54 runs in 44 deliveries.

Following his dismissal, B-Love Kandy sustained two setbacks in quick intervals when Chandimal and Chaturanga de Silva (0) fell in successive overs.

The wicketkeeper batter played a cautious 24-run knock in 22 balls with the help of three boundaries.

Coming out to bat at number six, Asif Ali soon turned the game on its head as he launched a counter-attack with a brief yet crucial cameo.

He shared a match-defining 25-run stand with experienced Angelo Mathews before perishing in the penultimate over after scoring a brisk 19 off 11 deliveries, laced up with two boundaries and a six.

Following his departure, Mathews spearheaded B-Love Kandy’s pursuit and displayed nerves of steel at the death to steer his side to their maiden LPL title.

Mathews scored an unbeaten 25 off 21 deliveries and hit three boundaries.

Despite ending up on a losing side, Noor Ahmad impressed with his sensational figures of 3/27 in four overs while Binura Fernando took two wickets for Dambulla Aura.

READ: New Zealand thump UAE in third T20I to register series triumph

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