Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka propel Galle Gladiators into LPL final
Colombo : Half-centuries from wicketkeeper-batter Kusal Mendis (85 off 53 balls) and Danushka Gunathilaka (55 off 42 balls) helped Galle Gladiators post an imposing 188/5 and then bundle out Jaffna Kings for 124 to secure a 64-run win in Qualifier 1 and enter the Lanka Premier League (LPL) final here.The Jaffna Kings will take on Dambulla Giants in Qualifier 2 for a place in the final.The Kings couldn’t find the momentum during their chase as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals, finally getting bowled out in 16.5 overs. Nuwan Thushara was the pick of the Gladiators’ bowlers with figures of 5/13 on Sunday night.
Rahmanullah Gurbaz was the only bright spot in Jaffna Kings’ batting card with an innings of 59 from 37 balls, laced with four boundaries and three sixes.Earlier, Gladiators’ opening batters Mendis and Gunathilaka set the platform with an opening stand of 121 runs in 13.2 overs. Mendis smashed seven boundaries and four sixes for his 85, while Gunathilaka scored 55 with the help of six boundaries and a maximum.Captain Bhanuka Rajapaksa played a quick-fire innings of 25 runs from 15 balls in the latter part of the innings to help the Gladiators put up an imposing total.Brief scores: Galle Gladiators 188/5 in 20 overs (Kusal Mendis 85, Danushka Gunathilaka 55) beat Jaffna Kings 124 in 16.5 overs (Rahmanullah Gurbaz 59; Nuwan Thushara 5/13) by 64 runs.