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LPL 2021 Eliminator | Janith Liyanage leads Dambulla Giants past Colombo Stars

It was shrewd batting by Janith Liyanage as he slowly and steadily helped his team Dambulla Giants chase down a relatively low but tricky target of 146 to get past Colombo Stars in the Eliminator of the Lanka Premier League 2021. 

Liyanage, not a famous name even in Lankan cricketing circuit wore down the bowlers in his innings of unbeaten 56 off just 47 balls as it included only five fours and no sixes, but he hardly played a few dot balls, making sure that no bowler was able to bowl to him constantly and get to his shortcomings. 

The partnership that the 26-year-old developed with Afghan import Najibullah Zadran also played an instrumental role in achieving the target. When Zadran paired up with Liyanage, the Giants were 68-3 in the 9th over and Phil Salt, their best batter in the tournament so far had just departed.

Thus at that stage, the game was wide open and could have gone either way if not for the 61 runs partnership between the Liyanage and Zadran duo. While Zadran was eventually removed for 34, the right-handed Liyanage stayed at the crease and went back only after carrying his team over the line in the 19th over. 

Prior to his stand with Zadran, Liyanage had also shared a 48 run stand for the third wicket with Salt after Stars were reduced to 20-2 with Niroshan Dickwella and Sandun Weerakkody departing early. 

Earlier in the afternoon, after winning the toss and deciding to bat first at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota, the Colombo team lacked any sort of planning. Dinesh Chandimal, who was the leading run-scorer of the tournament until the start of this game was sent in at number seven in a logic-defying move. He was sent even after a bowling all-rounder Seekkuge Prasanna. 

Naturally, Chandimal, who was the leading contributor in all the four wins for the Stars in the league, could only face two balls even by the time the 20th over began and got out on the third ball, trying to up the ante right from the word go. Angelo Mathews top-scored for the Stars with an unbeaten 50 off 34 balls while Pathum Nisannka made 42 off 39 balls. 

Giants, who won this game, would now face the loser of the first Qualifier match between the Galle Gladiators and Jaffna Kings to get a birth in the final of the league.

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BBL 11 | Saqib Mahmood demolishes Heat on Big Bash debut

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