Colombo Kings 173 for 4 (Evans 108*) beat Jaffna Stallions 167 for 6 (Russell 3-46) by six runs
How the game played out
Laurie Evans delivered the first century of the Lanka Premier League as his unbeaten 65-ball 108 powered the Colombo Kings to a six-run win over the Jaffna Stallions.
Evans' innings was the quintessential slow-burner, a run-a-ball start followed by a gradual shifting of gears towards the business end of the innings. That it was played on a pitch where all other batsmen generally struggled made it all the more impressive.
Evans had scored just 15 runs inside the Powerplay period as the Kings crawled to 31 for 1. By the end of the 11th over he had brought up his 50 off just 34 deliveries. The next few overs saw the Kings content with milking the singles, with the odd boundary thrown in. It was in the 15th over though that Evans finally unleashed, taking Binura Fernando for 25 runs, courtesy a six off a no-ball after the bowler had dished up a waist high-full toss, followed by two more boundaries.
The final five overs would go for 45 runs, 23 of which were scored by Evans. Andre Russell added a flourish with two sixes and four before being dismissed off the final ball of the innings, as the Kings made 173 for 4.
In their chase the Stallions put together several threatening partnerships - four over 30 runs - but they were undone by the inability of any of their batsmen to stick through the innings. Spin again proved to be difficult to get away as the trio of Qais Ahmed, Ashan Priyanjan and Tharindu Kaushal gave away just 51 between them in their eight overs.
This saw the Stallions' asking rate gradually rise to above 10 an over, but with big-hitters like Thisara Perera and Wanindu Hasaranga still to bat, they were always in with a shot. Which is precisely how the game would pan out - well, almost.
Perera arrived at the crease with 83 need from 40 deliveries; midway through the 16th over he, along with Shoaib Malik, had brought the equation down to 49 from 26 deliveries. But Russell would pick up both in consecutive deliveries to derail the Stallions' chase.
From then on Suranga Lakmal and Hasaranga attempted to knock off the remaining runs, but some outstanding death bowling from Isuru Udana, Russell and Dushmantha Chameera ensured an ultimately comfortable victory for the Kings.
Star of the day
Evans was touted as one of the more explosive foreign stars to sign up for the LPL, but thanks to the likes of fellow big-hitters in the Kings ranks like Russell and Udana, he has been somewhat unfairly overshadowed. Not this time though; on a pitch that wasn't as easy for batting as in earlier games, Evans showed patience and then exhibited his explosive range of hitting, a set of skills that will prove invaluable with the knockout games coming up.
Russell might have conceded 46 runs in his four overs, but picking up the wicket of both Malik and Perera back-to-back was undoubtedly the critical moment in the game. If even one of those two had been around, the Stallions would have gone close.
Where the teams stand
The result means that the Stallions are now certain to finish third in the group, with the Kings vying for top spot with Dambulla Viiking in Friday's game. The loser of that match will play the Stallions in the semis.