Galle Gladiators bounced back to pick up a win over Dambulla Giants by 9 runs in the rain-curtailed Lanka Premier League 2021 match at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday. Veteran English spinner Samit Patel starred with the ball for Gladiators as they defended the target of 135.
The match got off to a late start due to rain, and was reduced to 14 overs before the toss. After Dambulla Giants skipper Dasun Shanaka won the toss and elected to field, Gladiators were given a solid start by openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis, who both added 30 runs in 2.5 overs for the opening stand.
Gladiators’ innings was bolstered by Kusal Mendis who made 35 off 17 balls, hitting 4 fours and a six while Skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa struck 33 off 20 powered by 3 sixes and a four in his innings. But Gladiators’ middle-order struggled as veteran Proteas spinner Imran Tahir picked up three wickets for 20 runs while Joshua Little picked up 2/29, as they restricted Galle Gladiators to 134/7 in 14 overs.
Chasing the total, Giants lost Niroshan Dickwella for a duck on the third ball, but the 90-run stand between Philip Salt and Janith Liyanage shifted the tides in their favour, and it looked like Gladiators may suffer their third loss in a row.
But Salt was dismissed for 41 by Isuru Udana in the 11th over, and shortly after, Samit Patel sent back both Liyanage for 51 and skipper Shanaka for 1 back to the hut, and the match shifted gears once again.
Despite late hitting from Najibullah Zadran, who hit two sixes to score 16 runs in 9 balls, the Giants fell short of the target by 9 runs, scoring just 125/5 in 14 overs, and the Gladiators won the match to earn crucial two points.