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Kerr, Perera guide Dambulla Aura to LPL final as Galle Titans falter

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COLOMBO: Kusal Perera’s half-century and Hayden Kerr’s three-for powered Dambulla Aura to the final of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) as they edged Galle Titans in the Qualifier 1 by seven wickets on Thursday.

Dambulla Aura after winning the toss, struck early with the ball as Binura Fernando sent Banuka Rajapaksa back to the pavilion on the second ball of the innings without any score on the board.

Litton Das also followed Rajapaksa to the pavilion after adding eight runs to the total score of 25.

Lasith Croospulle, on the other end, led the charge for Galle Titans as he formed a solid partnership of 51 runs off 38 deliveries with Shakib Al Hasan before the latter perished, courtesy of Dhananjaya de Silva.

Shakib scored a cautious 19 off 17 laced with three boundaries.

Croospulle kept the Titans in the game, as he reached his fifty in 33 balls while losing partners on the other end.

He ultimately ran out in the last over after playing a sensible 80-run knock in 61 balls with the help of seven boundaries. The whole team was bundled out at the score of 146 on the final ball of the innings.

Besides Croospulle and Shakib, only two other batters managed to reach double figures for Galle Titans.

Hayden Kerr led the bowling attack for Dambulla Aura with impressive figures of 3-18, while Noor Ahmed contributed with two wickets for 27 runs. Hasan Ali, Fernando, and de Silva managed to pick one wicket each.

Dambulla Aura in pursuit of Galle Titan’s 146 to secure their spot in the LPL 2023 final, raced to 29 runs in three overs before opener Avishka Fernando was dismissed by Shakib Al Hasan. Fernando scored a quick-fire 24 off 14 featuring three sixes and one boundary.

The dismissal slowed down the scoring rate for Dambulla Aura as Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama stitched a cautious partnership of 31 off 29.

However, Seekkuge Prasanna removed Samarawickrama to reduce Dambulla Aura to 64-2.

Kusal Perera came down to the middle with Dambulla Aura needing 83 runs off 69 deliveries.

He started off slowly but shifted gears in the latter part of the innings, while Kusal Mendis anchored through the innings as they knitted a 69-run stand from 56 balls before Tabraiz Shamsi removed Mendis.

Kusal Mendis scored 49 runs from 45 deliveries with the help of seven boundaries, while Kusal Perera completed his half-century with a six in 36 balls.

Perera, however, faltered on the first ball of the final over with scores tied as he clubbed a slow full toss back to the bowler, Dasun Shanaka. Alex Ross then scored the final run to seal the deal for Dambulla Aura.

Kusal Perera played a vital knock of 53 runs off 39 balls, featuring four boundaries and three sixes.

Dambulla Aura with this victory booked the slot for the LPL final on August 20, while Galle Titans have another chance to qualify as they will play the Qualifier 2 match on Sunday against the winner of tonight’s Eliminator between defending champions Jaffna Kings and B-Love Kandy.

READ: Six international cricketers to attend PCB Level-2 Cricket Coach course

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