Mendis, Rajapaksa steer Gladiators to victory in LPL

COLOMBO: Galle Gladiators’ top-order laid solid foundation for the team before bowlers trapped Dambulla Giants, in their fixture of Lanka Premier League.

Kusal Mendis and Bhanuka Rajapaksa batted brilliantly and partnered strongly to assist their side posting commendable total of 134/7 in allotted 14 overs.

Batting first, in a rain hit match, Gladiators were off to a decent start. The opening pair recorded a fine 30-runs partnership before Danushka Gunathilaka departed for his magnificent 22 off just 12 balls, the batter hit four boundaries.

Mendis and Rajapaksa then, played brilliant innings, Mendis scored quickfire 35 off just 17 balls, laced with four boundaries and a six. He was looking solid but could not get going.

The side, then, began to lose wickets, but, batters made small contributions. Soon after, Rajapaksa also departed for an astonishing 33 off 20 balls, including one boundary and three sixes.

Imran Tahir was the pick of the bowlers for the Giants; picking three wickets for just 20 runs. Josh Little, too, was impressive with his 2/29. Whereas, Tharindu Ratnayake struck out a batter too.

Chasing 135 in 14 overs, Giants were off to a worst possible start; losing their first wicket for none as Niroshan Dickwella bagged a duck.

Phil Salt and Janith Liyanage, however, played sensible knocks, pulled their side back into the game. The pair added a tremendous 90-runs partnership before Salt dismissed on 41, facing just 29 balls. He hit three boundaries and a six.

The Giants, then, ran into a brief, but, costly collapse; losing half of their side along with the momentum. Liyanage, the top scorer for the Giants also perished after scoring a brilliant fifty, the batter scored 51 off 37 balls; hitting five boundaries and two sixes.

The rest of the batters could not go big at the death, and Giants, eventually, restricted to 125/5; losing the match by nine runs.

Samit Patel and Isuru Udana, each claimed two wickets for the Gladiators, while Mohammad Amir took one wicket.

With this victory, Gladiators have now moved to the second position, while Giants remained at the third.

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