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Final (N), Hambantota, December 23, 2021, Lanka Premier League
(20 ov, T:202) 178/9

Kings won by 23 runs

Player Of The Match
63 (41)
Player Of The Series
312 runs

Avishka, Kohler-Cadmore fire Jaffna Kings to second successive LPL title

Chasing 202, Galle Gladiators came undone in the face of Kings' superb attack after Danushka Gunathilaka's 54

File photo - Avishka Fernando was named Player of the Series and Player of the Match in the final  •  Ishara S.Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images

File photo - Avishka Fernando was named Player of the Series and Player of the Match in the final  •  Ishara S.Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images

Jaffna Kings 201 for 3 (Avishka 63, Kohler-Cadmore 57) beat Galle Gladiators 178 for 9 (Gunathilaka 54, Chaturanga 2-15, Hasaranga 2-30) by 23 runs
Avishka Fernando and Rahmanullah Gurbaz put on a manic opening stand in the Lanka Premier League (LPL) 2021 final against Galle Gladiators, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Shoaib Malik, and Thisara Perera muscled Jaffna Kings to a total of 201 for 3, and then their superb attack closed the match down.
On Thursday, Maheesh Theekshana (arguably the best bowler in the tournament) and Jayden Seales (the best quick of the LPL) went for runs, as Danushka Gunathilaka produced a fearsome opening salvo, that set Gladiators' chase off to a rocket-fueled start. But Kings have a lot of good bowlers, one of whom is Wanindu Hasaranga. He produced a vital double-strike, and an excellent spell overall. Suranga Lakmal and Chaturanga de Silva also delivered tight spells.
Gladiators were tenacious, but Kings defended their total comfortably, winning by 23 runs.
There has been a controversial ownership change since the last LPL, but Jaffna have now won the first two LPLs. Thisara Perera has led them to both victories. Theekshana, Hasaranga, and Lakmal have been valuable assets to both campaigns. And for the second year, former Sri Lanka batter Thilina Kandamby has put together an excellent squad, and been at the helm of the best tactical side of the competition.
Gurbaz's opening salvo
Gurbaz had had a mediocre first five matches of the LPL, but caught fire towards the end of the tournament, and was in outstanding striking form in the powerplay again. He got his first boundary thanks to a misfield at point at the end of the first over, but then exploded, hitting three straight sixes and a four off his next seven deliveries, to get the Kings' innings into a high gear, from which it never really switched down. He eventually holed out against the canny left-arm spin of Samit Patel, but his 35 off 18 was instrumental in Kings reaping 61 in the powerplay.
Fernando motors to another fifty
Having hit arguably the tournament's best innings against Dambulla Giants, in the qualifier on Tuesday, Fernando produced another impressive innings in the final, to keep Kings' momentum going through the early middle overs. He had not been a slouch in the powerplay, hitting five boundaries, but continued to be effective against Gladiators' spinners, clearing the boundary against Patel and later the legspin of Pulina Tharanga. When Nuwan Thushara had him caught at deep midwicket for 63 off 41 in the 13th over, Kings were still motoring at around 10 an over.
Kohler-Cadmore and Perera finish off
Kings' top five have been ruthless through the course of the tournament, and they are all the batters they needed to use to get to yet another total of over 200. Kohler-Cadmore's 57 not out off 41 helped the side push on through the middle overs. And then Thisara, the most explosive batter of the tournament, hit two sixes and a four at the start of the final over, to collect 17 not out off nine balls.
Mendis and Gunathilaka give Kings a scare
Kusal Mendis and Gunathilaka, both of whom are currently suspended from national duty, had points to prove in the LPL, and Mendis at least has provided reason for Sri Lanka's selectors to consider him again once he becomes available, top-scoring in the league, with his 327 runs at a strike rate of 149. Today, though, it was Gunathilaka who was most effective, laying into Theekshana, Seales, and Lakmal in the first four overs of the powerplay, to hit an outstanding 54 off 21 balls. That salvo saw Gladiators plunder 81 from the powerplay overs.
Hasaranga changes the game
Such is the depth in Kings' attack, though, that their third-best bowler this tournament has been Hasaranga, who currently sits atop the world T20I rankings. And it is he who dismissed Gunathilaka, having him caught at cover, before dismissing Ben Dunk the next ball with a googly. His fast thinking, upon receiving a throw at the non-striker's end, also helped end the innings of Mohammad Hafeez, when he quickly threw the ball to the keeper, to find the batter short.
Later in the game, his brother, Chaturanga, contributed as well, taking the wickets of Dhananjaya Lakshan and Tharanga. Wanindu took an excellent catch running back from cover to complete the dismissal for his brother.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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Over 20 • GG 178/9

Kings won by 23 runs
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