Dinesh Chandimal sees Colombo Kings home to keep things tight at the top
Wanindu Hasaranga's all-round show not enough as Jaffna Stallions suffer first defeat
Colombo Kings 151 for 4 (Chandimal 68) beat Jaffna Stallions 148 for 9 (Hasaranga 41, Qais Ahmad 3-24) by six wickets
How the match played out
That Jaffna Stallions had hit only 39 for 1 the end of the Powerplay was not unusual - they've generally made a habit of going slow at the start, then making up ground rapidly through the remaining overs. But it was the choke-hold that Colombo Kings' spinners put the Stallions in through the middle overs that went on to define the match.
Qais Ahmad made the biggest moves from among the Kings spinners, taking three wickets in his first two overs, giving away only 11. Among his victims was Avishka Fernando, who has hit two 80+ scores in the tournament. At the other end, offspinner Tharindu Kaushal sent down some impressive offspin, taking 1 for 22 in his three overs, and together they had the Stallions reeling at 74 for 5 at the end of the 11th over. When Dushmantha Chameera - who also had an excellent outing taking 2 for 27 - and Andre Russell claimed a wicket in each of the overs that followed, the Stallions slipped to 89 for 7 after 13. They recovered slightly thanks to Wanindu Hasaranga, who struck five consecutive fours off the 18th over bowled by Isuru Udana, on his way to 41 off 23. But even on a slow surface, the Stallions' 148 for 9 seemed 20 runs light. Dinesh Chandimal led the Kings' response, facing the first ball of the innings, and playing confidently and securely to ensure he was also around to hit the winning runs, which came with three balls to spare. He had overturned an lbw decision against him while on zero, but otherwise provided no serious chances as he struck his second substantial innings of the tournament, making 68 not out off 51 in the end.
There were times when the Kings' required rate climbed above nine, particularly when the Stallions' legspinners were in operation, but with so few wickets having fallen, and so much firepower in their middle order, they always seemed capable of recovering. Andre Russell's 32 off 20 balls ensured the Kings would make it home with comfort.
Where the teams stand
The Stallions' first loss does not cost them the top place on the points table, partly because the Kings and Dambulla Viiking have played (and won) one fewer match. The Stallions' net run rate is also significantly better than those of the remaining teams. The Stallions get a break on Saturday while the other four teams battle it out.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf