The Dambulla Viiking got off to a winning start in the My11Circle Lanka Premier League 2020, beating the Kandy Tuskers by four runs on the DLS-method, in a game that was brought to an early close by rain in Sooriyawewa.
The Viiking victory was set up by Captain’s innings from Dasun Shanaka (73 off 37 balls), and an equally crucial 38-ball 58 from Englishman Samit Patel.
Having been put into bat on a flat batting track, the Viiking got off to a steady start with Niroshan Dickwella and Oshada Fernando putting on a 27-run stand inside the first 3 overs. This stand however was brought to an abrupt halt when Oshada Fernando lost his footing while running between wickets, and in the process damaged his ankle.
Fernando was stretchered off the pitch, though initial reports suggest he will likely return before the end of the tournament.
Dickwella would then put on a further 26 runs with Upul Tharanga, before losing his wicket going for a reverse sweep that in the end could only be steered to the man catching at point. Tharanga would fall a few overs later, in a period that would see the Tuskers well on top.
However having bided their time initially, Shanaka and Patel took control of the game from the 11th over onwards. After a circumspect start in which Shanaka edged a Nuwan Pradeep delivery in between the wicketkeeper and first slip, and then a few balls later offered a tough chance at long-on that Naveen-ul-Haq failed to take, the proverbial flood gates opened.
The subsequent overs would see Patel and Shanaka bludgeon the Tuskers’ attack to all corners of the Sooriyawewa stadium, culminating in a particularly damaging 22-runs off Kavishka Anjula in the 18th over, as the Viiking raced to a match-winning 195/4.
In their chase, the Tuskers got off to a fast start – despite the early loss of Kusal Janith Perera – courtesy 19 year-old Rahmanullah Gurbaz, and with rain in the air he was threatening to potentially take the game away, as the Tuskers were staying ahead of the DLS par score. However once Malinda Pushpakumara rattled Gurbaz’s stumps off the first ball of his spell, and then a short while later Kamindu Mendis holed out in the deep, the asking rate for the Tuskers became much more daunting. And once rain finally brought the game to an end, the Viiking had just about managed to keep the Tuskers at bay.