Karachi: Galle Gladiators defeated Colombo Kings in the first semi-final of the inaugural Lanka Premier League (LPL) by two wickets at Hambantota, thanks to Dhananjaya Lakshan’s all-round performance under pressure.
The 22-year-old Lakshan smashed unbeaten 23-balls 31 which included a six and two fours. Lakshan Sandakan hit a boundary off the penultimate ball of the last over, handing Gladiators their third-win of the tournament.
Earlier, Gladiators restricted Kings 150/9 in 20 overs courtesy of three wickets by Sandakan and two each by Lakshan and Nuwan Thushara.
The 27-year-old Daniel Bell-Drummond made 53-ball 70 while no other batsman managed to score more than 20. Daniel struck seven fours and three sixes.
Gladiators’ inform batter Danushka Gunathilaka only scored 13 off 8 while skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa made 17-ball 33. Pakistan’s Azam Khan looked good for his 21 off 13 but couldn’t hold his nerve and was removed by Dushmantha Chameera in the seventh over.
Shehan Jayasuriya (22) and Lakshan played valuable knocks later, leading Gladiators closer to win. The drama didn’t end as Gladiators only scored two runs in the 19th over but Lakshan and Sandakan made sure Gladiators cross the line with ease before the final ball.
Gladiators will now face Jaffna Stallions or Dambulla Vikings, who are set to lock horns in the second semi-final of the competition tomorrow.