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Avishka Fernando stunning 92* eclipses Shahid Afridi blitz as Stallions triumph
Match Report

Avishka Fernando stunning 92* eclipses Shahid Afridi blitz as Stallions triumph

Avishka Fernando stood tall with a superb 92 not out as Jaffna Stallions clinched an eight-wicket win over the Shahid Afridi-led Galle Gladiators.

At the first innings break, all the momentum was with Galle after 40-year-old Afridi brutally flexed his power-hitting muscle to pummel a 23-ball 58.

Afridi's insane blitzkrieg arrived at a time when the Gladiators were down and out and staring at a mediocre total.

Galle were going nowhere and in tatters at 98-5 after 15 overs before Afridi rose to the occasion to hammer the opposition's bowlers all over the park.

His belligerence first came to the fore in Binura Fernando's over as he blasted three boundaries. Afridi then unleashed a couple of towering maximums in the over bowled by Kyle Abbott.

Finally getting into his groove, the evergreen Pakistan star thwacked four sixes in five deliveries off Duanne Olivier, bringing out his vintage excellence as he punished both the fuller-length and short balls.

On the sixth delivery of the 18th over, Afridi perished to an ill-fated slog. The prized scalp of Afridi was Olivier's fourth wicket in his lucrative four-over spell as he emerged as the leading wicket-taker among both sides.

Jaffna's chase was disrupted by a couple of early blows as Mohammad Amir and Afridi stifled the opposing team with tight bowling.

The Stallions then overwhelmingly dominated the contest thanks to Fernando's unparalleled carnage. Fernando paced his innings remarkably well by launching the big hits at the right time to cap off an outstanding night at the office.

Shoaib Malik was not required to do much as he and Fernando combined to add an unbroken 110 runs for the third wicket, taking Jaffna over the line unscathed.